Susquehanna River viewed as a landmark to unit southcentral Pennsylvania not divide
I’ve looked at a lot of photos capturing the Susquehanna River but saw a bunch of new images at a preview of an exhibit this week.
One photograph, in particular, caught my attention. It showed two iron bridge spans standing in the middle of the river amid the wreckage of their wooden counterparts.
Here’s the background:
After Union troops burned the Susquehanna River bridge to keep rebel invaders on the west bank in 1863, about six years passed before another structure spanned the river between York and Lancaster counties.
Someone came up with idea of installing two iron spans near mid-river. If the bridge again was ignited, the loss would be 50 percent, at most.
But in 1896, a cyclone blew down that mile-long covered bridge. That is, all but the iron spans… .
I had read about all this, but never had seen an image of the iron spans. A photograph of the lonely spans and the sunken wooden structure is part of a newly opened exhibit at the York County Heritage Trust, 250 E. Market St., in York.
A counterpart exhibit opened in Lancaster County this summer.
Exhibit organizers — the Heritage Trust, Lancaster County Historical Society and the Lancaster-York Heritage Region — point out that the river should unite the two counties rather than divide them.
Indeed, more such joint efforts will help the two counties to think regionally.
The exhibit is titled “Along the Susquehanna, How the River Shapes Our Region.” Certainly, that’s an apt title, and the exhibit offers plenty to shape the better part of an afternoon at the Heritage Trust.