Dreibelbis Station Covered Bridge

Dreibelbis Station Covered Bridge

The Dreibelbis Station Covered Bridge, a covered Burr arch truss, carries Covered Bridge Road over Maiden Creek in Berks County, Pennsylvania.


History

The area surrounding the Dreibelbis Station Covered Bridge featured agricultural and milling industries, the name having been received because of its proximity to Manasses Dreibelbis saw mill and clover mill. 1 3 A bridge over Maiden Creek had previously existed but washed away in a freshet in January 1839.

A petition for the construction of a new bridge was presented by Dreibelbis before the Court of Quarter Sessions where it had to be approved by appointed viewers, and then by the court and grand jury. 1 2 Strangely, four of the men who were awarded the contract to build the crossing withdrew their bids.

A new petition was set before the Court of Quarter Sessions by Dreibelbis and Samuel Fisher on January 23, 1869, and bids for construction were advertised in the Berks and Schuylkill Journal in May and June. 1 3 The initial contract was awarded on June 11 to Charles Stitzel, but he withdrew after the county commissioners changed the specifications of the bridge to add 15 feet to the length of the span. Three others who bid higher than him also withdrew.

Eventually, the new bridge was completed by Charles Kutz and Simon Dreibelbis at the cost of $6,000 by October. 1 2 3 Kutz owned a grist and sawmill below Kutztown, while Dreibelbis was a local bridge builder and farmer.

By the mid-20th century, the ends of the arches had deteriorated significantly. 1 The county hired contractor Anthony Genovese of Lancaster in fall 1968 to replace the ends with concrete and rest them on new concrete shelves attached to the face of the stone abutments. In August 1977, an overloaded vehicle broke three floor beams, which were immediately replaced.

The bridge was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in February 1981. 2

By the dawn of the 21st century, the Dreibelbis Station Covered Bridge was in need of major rehabilitation. The county applied for a National Historic Covered Bridge Preservation Program grant to help defray the costs of renovation. 2 In 2012, the $5.48 million project received a $1.44 million Historic Covered Bridge Preservation Program grant, which was used in conjunction with $2.72 million from the Federal Surface Transportation Program, and $1.32 million from the county.

The rehabilitation project began in 2019, which involved dismantling the structure and transporting it to Lancaster County Timber Frames of York to replace deficient timbers and perform other restorative work. 3 New Pennsylvania Dutch hex signs, painted by Eric Claypoole to replace the original signs painted by his father, Johnny Claypoole., were installed at each portal that signify good luck. 2 A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held to celebrate the reopening of the rehabilitated Dreibelbis Station Covered Bridge on August 21, 2020. 2


Information

  • State: Pennsylvania
  • Route: Covered Bridge Road
  • Type: Covered Burr Arch truss
  • Status: Active - Automobile
  • Total Length: 168 feet
  • Deck Width: 14.5 feet

Sources

  1. Dangelas, Sarah Marie Rose. “Dreibelbis Station Bridge.” Library of Congress, 2002.
  2. Berks Officials Celebrate Reopening of Dreibelbis Station Covered Bridge.” Berks Weekly, 21 Aug. 2020.
  3. Devlin, Ron. “Rehabilitated Dreibelbis Station Covered Bridge dedicated before crowd of 100.” Berks-Mont, 25 Aug. 2020.

Leave a Reply