4 votes

Sheepford Bridge (1887)


Old Forge Bridge facing East

Photo taken by Jodi Christman in February 2009


BH Photo #133839

Street View 


FROM THE 1996-2001 PENNSYLVANIA HISTORIC BRIDGE SURVEY: The single span, 114'-long, pin-connected, Pratt thru truss bridge built in 1887 is supported on stone abutments that have been repaired and coated with concrete. The top chords and verticals are patented Phoenix column sections, with eyebars and rods for the pin-connected tension members. Cast iron connecting pieces are used for the compression fitting Phoenix column section members. The floorbeams, stringers, and open steel grid deck were replaced ca. 1975, but the U-shaped hanger floorbeam connections were not changed. The bridge has portal bracing with decorative brackets and builders plaque. The bridge was fabricated by the Phoenix Bridge Co. of Phoenixville, PA, and erected by their agents Dean & Westbrook of New York. The company was instrumental in refining and popularizing metal truss bridge technology during the last half of the 19th century. The Phoenix column, patented in 1861, was one of the first successful attempts to substitute built-up wrought iron sections for cast iron for use with compression members. Truss bridges with Phoenix column members were used widely by railroads through the mid 1880s and for highway applications through the mid 1890s. It is mostly the later highway examples, such as this 1887 bridge, that have survived in small numbers in Pennsylvania. The bridge is historically and technologically distinguished.


Through truss bridge over Yellow Breeches Creek on TR 968 (Sheepford Road)
York County, Pennsylvania, and Cumberland County, Pennsylvania
Closed to all traffic
Future prospects
Currently being evaluated for preservation
Built 1887; rehabilitated ca. 1975; closed to traffic January 29, 2020
- Dean & Westbrook of New York, New York
- Phoenix Bridge Co. of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania
Pratt through truss; cast and wrought iron
Span length: 113.9 ft.
Total length: 113.9 ft.
Deck width: 14.0 ft.
Eligible for the National Register of Historic Places
Also called
Old Forge Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+40.18497, -76.91219   (decimal degrees)
40°11'06" N, 76°54'44" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
18/337211/4450040 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Average daily traffic (as of 2012)
Inventory numbers
PA 66 7208 0968 3257 (Pennsylvania Bridge Management System number)
PANBI 38118 (Pennsylvania BRKEY bridge number on the 2011 NBI)
BH 31878 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of July 2017)
Overall condition: Poor
Superstructure condition rating: Poor (4 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Good (7 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 20.5 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • November 17, 2021: New photos from Patrick Gurwell
  • July 11, 2021: Updated by Art Suckewer: fipped the prime and alternate names as Sheepford is what is commonly used
  • January 31, 2020: Updated by Mike Kerkau: Updated status per comments
  • August 18, 2017: Updated by Christopher Finigan: Added category "Pin-connected"
  • June 28, 2014: New Street View added by Ralph Demars
  • December 26, 2011: Updated by Jodi Christman: Added builder and description
  • September 17, 2010: New photos from Jodi Christman
  • September 11, 2010: Updated by Jodi Christman: Updated map
  • February 21, 2009: New photos from Jodi Christman

Related Bridges 



Sheepford Bridge (1887)
Posted April 27, 2022, by Jason Smith (flensburg [dot] bridgehunter [dot] av [at] googlemail [dot] com)

A pair of great news in the world of historic bridges. The Sheepford Road Bridge and Bogert's Covered Bridges have received funding for bridge restoration. A look at the former in this article with a big congrats! Your bridge matters! <3 :-) Link: https://bridgehunterschronicles.wordpress.com/2022/04/27/she...

Sheepford Bridge (1887)
Posted November 6, 2021, by Janice Lynx (savesrb [at] aol [dot] com)

Encouraging news on the Sheepford Road Bridge!


Old Forge Bridge
Posted November 13, 2020, by JANICE LYNX (savesrb [at] aol [dot] com)

York & Cumberland Counties have approved a motion to allow Friends of Sheepford Road Bridge until October 2022 to find a preservation option for the bridge. We are pursuing options which will allow the bridge to remain in place. This will require a new owner and major fund raising efforts. Donations can be made through the West Shore Historical Society, PO BOX 717, Camp Hill, PA 17001.

We are confident we will be successful.

Old Forge Bridge Sheepford Road Bridge
Posted March 3, 2020, by Joan Lenker (Joan [at] Eleganceinart [dot] com)

The bridge will be restored at its birthplace. Letters of support from Lower Allen and Fairview Townships are moving up to county commissioners. West Shore Historical Society and Preservation PA support this bridge preservation. 2017 Cumberland County Comprehensive Plan surveyed residents stated "preserve historic sites and structures is extremely important" by 82%. Budget hearings seek funding sources. Save Our Bridge group has support coverage by TV on ABC27News, Fox43, and CBS21. Radio coverage is scheduled in April. First fundraising effort in New Cumberland on March 7. Over 1200 petitions signed. Bridge puzzles will be sold not the bridge! Lets allow this destination bridge to sing again with the sound of cars riding over it. This heritage bridge will be enjoyed by future generations.

Old Forge Bridge
Posted February 22, 2020, by Janice Lynx (jynxbomb [at] aol [dot] com)

I'm a member of the "Save Our Bridge" group. We will take any help we can get in our goal to restore the bridge in its birthplace, where it has connected our communities for over 140 years. We are hopeful that the counties will work with us toward that goal. Our petition has just reached the 1000 signature mark and we continue to attend meetings, hold events and raise awareness of the plight of the bridge. Now that it is closed, we have gathered even more support.

Old Forge Bridge
Posted January 31, 2020, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

The County offered it to us. They saved another similar. I encouraged them to work with the county and I was told to back off by the locals. Not my fault that it needs saved and it feels a bit doomed. If we can help we will.

Old Forge Bridge
Posted January 31, 2020, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

There is a lot of back story here the owner has been wanting rid of this bridge however there is strong local opposition to demolition. This is just the latest development.

Old Forge Bridge
Posted January 31, 2020, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

I have found in my many years of dealing with trusses that the lion's share of the time the issue is below the deck. Of course the powers that be would have you believe it to be nearing catastrophic failure of the entire structure, when the trusses themselves are normally not that bad. I would easily assume that those riddled floor beams and stringers are replacements to the originals.

Old Forge Bridge
Posted January 31, 2020, by Art S. (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)


Yes and no. I think they added new stringers and left the rotten ones in place. The deck design has laterals that effectively distribute the load across the stringers and help compensate for the floor beam rot.

So, while not good, it looks scarier than it is. This one is an easy save once the politics are navigated.


Art S.

Old Forge Bridge
Posted January 31, 2020, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Letting the floor beams and stringers get in that condition is criminal neglect.

Old Forge Bridge
Posted January 30, 2020, by Patrick S O'Donnell (1 [dot] 991km [at] comcast [dot] net)

Built 1887, Pratt through truss; cast and wrought iron Phoenix Column Bridge.

"During the scheduled safety inspection, in accordance with the National Bridge Inspection Standards program, engineers found that several components of the bridge are in poor condition and that there is evidence of the bridge being used by overweight vehicles."