Even More Bridges of Chester County

My goal of viewing all the bridges in Chester County is (almost) complete. I was unable to view the the Hayes Clark and Speakman II (Mary Ann Pyle) covered bridges because they sit inside the Laurel Preserve, which is owned by the Brandywine Conservancy. You must be a conservancy member to access the property. As you will see below, it was also a rainy day when I went out to see the remaining bridges, and I was on a tight schedule. I will have to come back to see these at some later date.

The first bridge of the day was the Speakman I bridge south of Coatesville. If you are interested in learning more about these bridges, or would like to find your own local covered bridges, I suggest this site.

The next stop (after the aborted Laurel Preserve visit) was a cluster of bridges near the Maryland border. I often find that covered bridges come in clusters, which is very convenient when trying to visit them. These three all sit across Elk Creek.

The Glen Hope Covered Bridge.
The Rudolph Arthur Covered Bridge.
The Linton Stevens Covered Bridge.

The next bridge is the impressive Pine Grove Covered Bridge over Octoraro Creek. It is 198 feet long and the longest covered bridge in Chester or Lancaster counties.

The Pine Grove Bridge,
Open to traffic, it is a well-maintained bridge.

I had to sneak in this shot in Oxford:

The view outside the Miss Oxford Diner. I liked the trains and cars in front of this old silo.

The final stop was in Lancaster County, because, well, it was nearby and ticks off another bridge.

Jackson’s Saw Mill Covered Bridge.

The Covered Bridges of French Creek

Chester County still has a fair number of covered bridges, with 15 still in existence. Many of them are open to traffic. It also continues to share some bridges with surrounding counties (Bartram, Pine Grove, and Mercers Mill, for example). A cluster of bridges span French Creek in the northeastern section of the county, west of Phoenixville.

Heading east, we encounter the bridges, beginning with Rapps Dam Covered Bridge.

Interesting that these bridges have white ends and red sides.

We come upon Kennedy Covered Bridge next.

The western most is Sheeder Hall Covered Bridge.

You have a good view of the side of this one and the creek.

The covered bridge saga continues next week.

The Bridges of Chester County, Part I

This post is just the beginning of the promised photos of covered bridges. I set out on a mission to view and, in most cases, photograph my local covered bridges. For those of you interested in finding these bridges for yourself, I recommend this site. A view of the Knox (Valley Forge) covered bridge can be found in my earlier post.

Covered bridges were sometimes called “kissing bridges” because they provided some privacy for travellers to sneak a kiss. While at the Mercer’s Mill Covered Bridge, I met a guy who used to bring his girlfriend there from Delaware in the 1980s. So it seems the tradition of young lovers being drawn to covered bridges extended well into the twentieth century.

The Mercer’s Mills covered bridge.
Horses hanging out at a nearby farm.

The Bartram covered bridge straddles the border with Delaware County on Crum Creek. It would make one end, at least, Delaware County’s only covered bridge.

The Bartram Covered bridge.

The Gibson covered bridge sits along side a busy road. Traffic through the bridge is only one way. The eastern side has a parking area for access to local hiking in the Brandywine Meadows Preserve.

The Gibson Covered Bridge.
The Larkin Covered Bridge – sadly out of use, but it has a walking path nearby.

More Chester and Lancaster County Farms

Driving around locally usually produces more images of farms, even if I am mainly looking for covered bridges. The farms in Chester and Lancaster County are really visually interesting and varied, so I can’t help myself.

This one is in Lancaster County.
As is this one …
Back to Chester County …
I love the distressed paint and stone fence here.
This is nice looking complex of buildings.
Interesting grain silos.
Sunset over the cornfields.

Plenty more covered bridge photos are upcoming, too.

A Little Bit of This and That

Sometimes you just encounter some fun or interesting stuff while out with your camera.

I believe this is a horse-drawn plow.
The White Rock Forge Covered Bridge
Right next door is …
You can’t make this stuff up. I wonder what the origin of the name is. Does the groundhog sleep in on February 2?
Amish schoolhouse
a really cool looking small shed
I loved the shrub in front of this home.

The Animals Are Just Chilling

While the world goes crazy around them, the animals of rural Pennsylvania seem to be doing just fine …

This cow couldn’t care less.
A horse taking Sunday off.
This looks like a great spot to relax.
Laying down on the job.
A little snack in the sunshine.

May Has Had a Split Personality

This month has certainly seen some wild changes in the weather. We recently went from sunny and low eighties to low thirties within a 24 hour period. It is a relief to get outdoors whenever one can. I took some time to go in search of a trumpeter swan on Octoraro Lake. I didn’t see the swan, but the farms around this area are some of my favorite to photograph.

On my travels, I’ve noticed a lot of fallow fields and newly plowed fields in mid-May. This seems late to me for planting. Is it the weather, or something else?

Here is a sampling of the photographs.

There seems to be one picture perfect farm after another.
A peek down an Amish driveway.
A really nice, rustic bank barn. I’m seeing barns of this style all over the place now I know what they are.
Well, hello there.
Here’s a look at the whole barn.
A vert cozy looking farm.
I love the gray grasses in the foreground.
White really seems to be the color of choice for barns around here.
A few more …
for good measure.

The Groundhog Sticks Her Head Out of the Her Hole

It shouldn’t come as a surprise, that due the corona virus lock down, I haven’t been out much doing photography. I did manage to drive around my local community getting some photos of the spring flowers and flowering trees. I also checked up on two of my local state parks, which were well attended by people glad to get out of the house while maintaining a safe distance from others.

The local; cherry trees are in bloom.
Tulips are always lovely.
This pony at Ridley Creek State Park finds things greener on the other side of the fence.
These horses aren’t bothered by Covid 19.
I love this barn at Hope Springs Farm at Marsh Creek State Park.
It has a great silo.
The horses were enjoying a day in the pasture.
Down at the West Launch a kayaker is getting ready to shove off.
Someone else has a faster way to get around.

Socially distant dispersed outdoor recreational fun was had by all.

A Black and White Christmas

I am experimenting taking some black and white images from around my local area and in my church this holiday season. This is still a work in progress. Check back for more later this month.

Poinsettias lined up ready for delivery.
It’s still Advent. Like many Episcopal churches, mine doesn’t actually decorate much for Christmas until it’s the actual liturgical season of Christmas (Christmas to Epiphany).
Christmas from the little ones.
Christmas lights from around the area. You’re not losing much in black and white. People seem to like white, not colored, lights these days.
This one was red and green, however.

Autumn Visit to Historic Sugartown

I recently took advantage of the guided tours offered to visit historic Sugartown, a preserved 19th century community located in Chester County. Sugartown is an historic crossroads community dating to 1800. It features several interesting structures such as a general store, barn, book bindery, carriage museum and period homes. The website for Historic Sugartown can be found here.

Tours run from May to November on Saturday and Sunday, and there is a fee. You are welcome to browse the grounds for free. The fee is well worth it to see the interior of the general store, the carriage museum and many vintage tools inside the barn.

I’ve included some interior photographs here that are not great but give one a sense of what these historic properties look like. The interior lighting was very dark, and I was shooting handheld without much time to adjust exposure.

The tour begins with arrival to the rear of the Sharpless Worrall house, a mid 19th century home.

Lovely walk to the rear porch of the Sharpless Worrall House and General Store.
Roses blooming in November.
The rear porch decorated for Autumn.
An old well found on the property during renovation. It is 40 feet deep.

Currently attached to the Sharpless Worrall House is the General Store. The store building was first constructed in c. 1805 by Joseph Waterman when he built his home and Saddle Shop next door.  This building also served as a post office for area in the early 1800s.

A view inside the General Store.
I loved this Autumn American Flag display in the window.

We then proceeded outside to check out the Carriage Museum. This building was once in ruins, but was it was built on by the Malvern Fire Company to create a satellite station before becoming a museum. Collection highlights include a c. 1800 Conestoga wagon used to haul freight from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh, and a hearse used by undertaker George L. Moore of Guthriesville in the 1870s.

Some pieces from the collection.
Yes, sleighs are real and don’t just exist in Christmas carols.
The Hearse. I’ve never seen one of these before.

Tucked into the back of the Carriage Museum is a really cool dollhouse.

Across the street are several more buildings. First up is a Book Bindery, where you can sign up to take classes in the craft. The building was built in 2001 to house a world-class collection of bookbinding tools and equipment once owned by the late master bookbinder Fred Shihadeh. Today, local bookbinder, Ramon Townsend, of ColonialBindery.com, teaches a variety of workshops in the Book Bindery. 

A class in session.
Entering the Book Bindery.

The William Garrett House was constructed on 1805 and relocated to its current position in 2001 to save it from demolition. It is an excellent example of a modified “Quaker Plan” or three-room plan so often used in homes among the Quaker community. 

View of a large, old beech tree through this window.

Nearby is the Bank Barn. Typical for Chester County, this 19th century Pennsylvania barn was constructed so that hay wagons could enter the upper level from a bank. Today, the barn preserves a rich agricultural heritage through an agricultural tool exhibit on its upper floor.

The site also features the Hannah Cheever House, dating from 1835. This property was bought and restored by Historic Sugartown to save it and the surrounding property from development.

The rear of the Cheever House from the porch of the William Garrett House.
The Cheever House and the Book Bindery.

Historic Sugartown is well worth the visit and is especially lovely in the Spring and Fall.