Friday, September 30, 2011

Glessner Bridge

Glessner Covered Bridge
The Glessner Bridge spans Stoney Creek and is located on State Route 1007 in Stoneycreek Township, Somerset, PA.  It was originally built in 1861 by Tobias Glessner, who owned 271 acres of timberland near Shanksville and was a prosperous lumberman. After being damaged by flooding the bridge was replaced as a replica in 1998. It is open to vehicle traffic and sits adjacent to a B&O railroad spur. 

The construction of the Baltimore and Ohio railway, America's first rail system began in Baltimore in 1828 and reached Wheeling, VA (West Virginia did not exist yet) in 1852. Eleven tunnels and 113 bridges had to be constructed.  The railroads further expedited the transport of timber, coal, agricultural goods and produce, and increased the influx of people to western frontiers.

While we were at Stoney Creek, taking in the view and photographing the covered bridge, we saw an Amish family fishing in the creek.  Here is a modern-day example of a culture that has not allowed technological advances to disrupt a simpler way of living.

"[Jesus] said to them, 'Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men'"
(Matthew 4:19).

Walter's Mill

Walter's Mill Covered Bridge

In the early 19th century, Pennsylvania's prospering agriculture led to transporting goods to nearby cities.  The condition of roads and bridges became critically important to the economy.  Covered bridges were designed to protect the bridge floors and supporting structures from the elements. 

The Walter's Mill Bridge was built in 1859 and was originally located on Coxes Creek four miles south of the town of Somerset.  Major repairs were made to the bridge in 1909 to accommodate heavier "modern" vehicles. 

Increasing road development threatened  the bridge with destruction, so it was moved to Route 986 at the site of the Somerset Historical Center in the early 1960s and was extensively restored in 1986.  Now spanning Haupt's Run, the bridge is open to pedestrian traffic and serves as a pleasant reminder of simpler times.

Near the Historical Center there is a restored 1790's log farmhouse built by Adam Miller, along with a barn, a detached summer kitchen, and a smokehouse--one of the few still standing.  At the farmhouse you can see and learn how farmers lived in the 18th century.  For example, meats smoked for preservation were stored for months without spoiling in the second story attic of the farmhouse where the children's bedrooms were also located.  The main floor of the house functioned as a multi-purpose room--kitchen, work room, and parent's bedroom.

Life was much different then from what we know today with our advanced technology and modern conveniences.  People were more patient then.  Our time-saving inventions train us to have difficulty"waiting" and compel us to squeeze more into our calendars rather than spending more quiet time with God and family.
Adam Miller's Farmhouse
"Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains" (James 5:7).

Friday, June 3, 2011

Bridges of Somerset County

Somerset Wind Farm
I love covered bridges.  They speak of history, nostaligia, creativity, and romance.  Pennsylvania is graced with many of these relics of the past, and even some newer ones.  My first tour of bridges is in Somerset County, where on a day in June (our wedding anniversary) my husband and I mapped out a driving tour of covered bridges and met with some sweet surprises along the way.

First, however, we began our tour with a visit to the Somerset Wind Farm located on a reclaimed strip mine on Rockdale Road between Rockwood and Meyersdale.  These turbines can be seen in the distance from the Pennsylvania Turnpike, but we wanted a closer look. 

It was a remarkable beginning to our journey, for not only could we see the wind mills up close, but we were treated to the wind on our faces and an unexpected gorgeous view of the rolling countryside of Somerset, where we would spend the rest of the day driving and stopping to enjoy the scenery. 

"There came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. . . And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:2-4).


Middlecreek Township, Somerset, PA.  Built in 1806.  Rebuilt in 1906.  Spans Laurel Hill Creek.  Burr arch construction.  In need of major repair.  Rockwood Historical Society asking for donations to save.


Middlecreek Township, Somerset, PA.  Built in 1830. Spans Laurel Hill Creek.  King post construction. 

Pedestrian only.


Saw deer along road.


Saw ferns and rhododendron in woods.