3 votes

Conestoga Creek Bridge


Looking west

Photo taken by Jodi Christman in August 14, 2013


BH Photo #263013


FROM THE 1996-2001 PENNSYLVANIA HISTORIC BRIDGE SURVEY: The single span, 54'-long bridge consists of a pair of bowstring trusses that no longer carry live loads. The live loads are now carried by stringers place through the trusses ca. 1950. The trusses are Henszey's patented bowstring arch-trusses, fabricated in 1869 by the Continental Bridge Co. of Philadelphia. They consist of built-up tubular upper chord members of two quarter circle section bowed-web channels, similar to half Phoenix sections. The trusses have vertical straps for the web and paired bars for the lower chord. A pin-connected tie back system of rods with turnbuckles is anchored in end posts at the abutment corners. The end posts appear to have been concrete encased at later date, but cast-iron bearings with compression fitting slots for the upper chord are visible at the bases. Only one other example of Joseph G. Henszey's patented design is known to exist in the country. It is a longer example carrying Kings Road over Ontelaunee Creek in Lehigh County (1869, NR-listed). Although this example has alterations, integrity is considered secondary to recognizing the historical and technological significance of this exceptionally rare design from the early developmental era of the prefabricated metal truss bridge technology.


Steel stringer bridge with bowstring trusses over Conestoga Creek on T848 Conestoga Creek Road
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania
Open to traffic
Built in 1869 as a bowstring pony, stringers placed ca 1950 carry the load
- Continental Bridge Co. of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania of 1869-1878
- Joseph G. Henszey
Single span, 54'-long bridge consists of a pair of Henszey's patented bowstring arch-trusses with stringers place through the trusses that carry the live load.
Length of largest span: 53.2 ft.
Total length: 54.1 ft.
Deck width: 11.8 ft.
Eligible for the National Register of Historic Places
Approximate latitude, longitude
+40.14028, -76.04083   (decimal degrees)
40°08'25" N, 76°02'27" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
18/411336/4443846 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Terre Hill
Average daily traffic (as of 2011)
Inventory numbers
PANBI 21911 (Pennsylvania BRKEY bridge number on the 2011 NBI)
BH 52535 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of November 2015)
Overall condition: Poor
Superstructure condition rating: Poor (4 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Poor (4 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 28 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • August 15, 2013: New photos from Jodi Christman
  • May 26, 2012: Added by Jodi Christman



Conestoga Creek Bridge
Posted January 16, 2022, by B. Adair (bryceadair14 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Demolished and replaced.

Conestoga Creek Bridge
Posted July 5, 2020, by Art S. (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)


Thanks for the heads up that the trusses have been removed. It is my understanding that the trusses are safe.


Art S.

Conestoga Creek Bridge
Posted July 5, 2020, by Stephen B Bender (sbbender [at] gmail [dot] com)

Hi -

Just looked for this bridge in July 2020, among others on the Conestoga Creek. It has unfortunately been replaced by a modern bridge, by the looks of it a couple years ago.

Conestoga Creek Bridge
Posted April 21, 2019, by Thomas Kipphorn (tkipph [at] gmail [dot] com)

Correction on the posting of August 12, 2018. The original location of the iron bridge was actually on Quarry Road (T894) in East Earl Township, not North Farmersville Road in West Earl Township. Sorry for any inconvenience.

Conestoga Creek Bridge
Posted August 12, 2018, by Thomas Kipphorn (tkipph [at] gmail [dot] com)

According to "Seeing Lancaster Count's Covered Bridges" by E. Gipe Caruthers, this bridge "Until 1916, crossed the Conestoga about a mile downstream, at which a new concrete span was built. [This would be at present crossing of North Farmersville Road.] Instead of scrapping this one, a local man named Joseph Shirk had it moved here where there was only a fording."

Conestoga Creek Bridge
Posted July 1, 2017, by Art S (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)

Actually, there are parts of PA that do try hard to save them.

I'm surprised at where the bridge is being preserved; is my understanding that the historic portions (the trusses, which have been decorative for many years, apparently) were going to be preserved elsewhere.


Art S.

Conestoga Creek Bridge
Posted July 1, 2017, by Luke

Pennsylvania... restoring a bridge???

Conestoga Creek Bridge
Posted July 1, 2017, by Kenneth (unitedfireybride [at] yahoo [dot] com)

This bridge is closed was closed this past winter as it is getting a replacement. The bridge was moved over to the Swiss Pioneer Preservation Associates farm where restoration will be done sometime down the road. This bridge has caused some local controversy a few years before it got replaced, questioning if its worth it considering 15 vehicles use it a day. Even so, the township still choose to replace the bridge, due to they were in agreement with the state to pay 15% of the cost and the federal to pay 80% and the township 5% and breaking the agreement would result in the township to reimburse the state and federal for what they already spent and they already spent enough that it would be cheaper for the township to replace the bridge then to break the agreement.