May 1, 2020

More Info on Binkley's Mill Covered Bridge

Location: New Holland Pike, Pennsylvania, USA
Self-described covered bridge buff Thomas Kipphorn found an old blog post of mine with stereoviews (below) by William Gill showing Binkley's Mill and Bridge on the New Holland Pike where it crosses over the Conestoga. He kindly sent me some of his research on the site, offering it for publication on this blog.
"Binkley's Mill and Bridge" (vws)
"Conestoga at Binkley's" (vws)
"Binkley's Bridge" (vws)
PA/38-36-80x Christian / Milo / David Binkley's Mill / Printer's Paper Mill Bridge- Was Big Conestoga #17, and then state owned. The site is now abandoned. It was a two span Double Burr Truss 306' long, with a clear span of 295'8", a 16' roadway, a 12'6" clearance and at 25', this was the highest built above water in the county except for Susquehanna River intercounty structures. The covered bridge had replaced an earlier multi-arch stone bridge that had been washed away. It was built in 1869 by Elias McMellen at a cost of $1,650.00.

It was located between East Lampeter and Manheim Townships, oriented east-northeast to west-southwest on what is now called Pennwick Road on the East Lampeter Township (east) side and Papermill Road on the other (T555 both sides), but formerly an old section of what is now Route 23, SR0023 or the New Holland Pike. On Saturday, November 25, 1882, the adjoining mill caught fire. Flames spread to the bridge and both were destroyed.

The Columbia Iron Bridge Company built a new two span wrought iron Pratt through truss bridge on the old abutments and center pier and that lasted until an overweight truck dropped one of the spans, killing the driver, on Thursday, September 29, 1929. After this, the road was relocated about 550' downstream (south), mainly to eliminate two right angle bends set in opposite directions of each other on the Pennwick Road end, which put the new road on the downstream side of the former Lancaster to New Holland trolley bridge (empty abutments now gone), in 1930, to a new two span steel pony truss bridge. This bridge was replaced in 1989 -1990 by the present four span concrete bridge at the same site. The two right angle bends of Pennwick Road, which can be seen in a Penn Pilot aerial photo dated to April 29, 1940, still exist behind a barricade, but there is no trace of the old abutments or center pier of the covered bridge.

A local resident says the stonework from the abutments and pier were used to build cofferdams to lay the foundations for the 1930 steel bridge. However, the foundation of the center pier can still be seen in low water. Coordinates are taken off the pier foundation: 40° 4.4723'N, 76° 15.5693'W.