History of the Meadows Road Bridge as it posted on the web site www.lowersaucontownship.org.
The Meadows Road Bridge located on Meadows Road south of Hellertown Borough, spans the Saucon Creek. Built in 1858, it is one of only two examples of a four span stone arch bridge built between 1826 and 1921 that exist in today in Northampton County. Stone arch bridge construction predates the covered bridges and was the only technology available to the early settlers for longer and permanent spans prior to the introduction of metal truss bridge technology.
By authorizing the sum of $899.47 for the construction of the Meadows Road Bridge, the Northampton County Commissioners recognized the need of the local farmers to transport their grain to the Levi S. Moyer grist mill. Northampton County tax records for 1860 show Levi S. Moyer to be the wealthy owner of this grist mill. The handsome stone mill was built in 1829, continued operation as a mill for 110 years and still stands today. Farmers utilized the King’s Highway (known as PA Rte. 412 today and was the original “Walking Purchase Trail”) then crossed the Saucon Creek over the bridge and traveled another 300 yards to the mill. Also operating in the immediate area, when the bridge was built, was the Stevers Mine. It was an open pit limestone quarry mined by J.D. Heller. Dr. Heller used horse and cart to transport the limestone to local farmers.
Today the bridge is the oldest bridge in Lower Saucon Township and one of the oldest stone bridges in Northampton County. By the 1860’s the Northampton County switched to building primarily iron span bridges.
The Meadows Road Bridge has been the focus of many local artists over the years, such as Fred Bees, Walter E Baum and in early 1900 post cards.
In 2008, in celebration of the bridge’s 150 years, the Lower Saucon Township Council authorized the placement of a historic marker at the bridge noting its local historic significance.
Thanks Nathan, for filling Tony in on information regarding the tie rods on the bridge. Back at the end of August when Lower Saucon Township and Northampton County had an onsite meeting about the Meadows Rd Bridge, even the County Exeuctive,John Stoffa, said he had heard that manhole covers were most likley used at the end of the tie rods, apparantly the county did this sometime in the 1980's.
A local, renowned stone mason by the name of Andy deGruchy from the Quakertown, PA area, who the township hired as a consultant to review the strucutre of the bridge agreed that the tie rod ends should be between the arches and not ontop of them, that in fact, they may be harming the arches at this point.
I found information by Penn Dot regarding the maintenance and repair program for stone arch bridges complied from a pilot program for stone arch bridges in the Penn Dot district 6 region that are appliclabe for the entire state.
The links for the web site are: http://www.pastonearch.org/docs/Plan.pdf and http://www.pastonearch.org/docs/10-02-07%20Revised%20WORD%20FORMAT%20REPORT.pdf
If we could only get the PHMC to recognize this strucutre and put it on the National Register of Historic Places.
I am going to try to get some pictures of the historic marker that the township put up even though Nathan has some good pictures on his site.
Thanks Nathan! That's pretty much what I had in mind when I saw them. Yes, hopefully if the bridge were to be properly restored they would be removed. I guess we have to get past the IF before we worry about that however!
They are "tie rods" which are not original to the structure. Assuming that a comprehensive rehabilitation would repair the structure to a condition that the tie rods are not needed, I would recommend their removal as part of a rehabilitation project. They are odd looking tie rods, they look like the underside of manhole covers. They also are placed in strange locations on the bridge. Normally I think tie rods are located between arches like the one rod seen on this bridge: http://www.historicbridges.org/newyork/papermill/
I have detail photos for Meadows Road Bridge including the tie rods: http://www.historicbridges.org/bridges/browser/index.php?bridgebrowser=pennsylvania/meadowsroad/
This is indeed a beauty!
Am curious though about the round do-dads over 3 of the 4 arches....are these some sort of end caps or nuts for rods that are running transversely through those spans? And would they be removed if the bridge were rehabilitated?........
Beautiful bridge that should be on the top 12...if for any reason - it is stone. Try to find another stone bridge that is being used so heavily today, not many around. Think their are other reasons why the bridge may have been built and are not included.
But, just a very impressive bridge that KEEPS doing its job with little outside help.
CONGRATULATIONS - Meadows Road Bridge