A Few Covered Bridges Then Home

Lycoming County has a total of four covered bridges. I visited two of them on my way home from Potter County.

The Buttonwood Bridge (also known as the Blockhouse Bridge) was built in 1898 with the structure spanning Blockhouse Creek. It uses a queen post with king post truss and is 74 feet 2 inches (22.6 m) long. The bridge is in good condition with a new wood shingled roof and pressure treated floor. The structure is open to traffic all year long. The bridge was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980 and had a major restoration in 1998. It is the shortest and most heavily used of the three covered bridges remaining in Lycoming County.

A couple of looks inside the bridge.
An interesting sawmill operation near the bridge.
Very nice looking barn.
Anther pretty barn shot.

The next bridge to the south was the Cogan House Bridge. This bridge was built in 1877 of the Burr Arch design with a structure length of 94 feet crossing Larry’s Creek. Cogan House bridge is open to traffic, and leads to a dead end private drive near the game lands. The bridge was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980, and had a major restoration in 1998. The Cogan House bridge is named for the township and village of Cogan House, and is also known by at least four other names: Buckhorn, Larrys Creek, Day’s, and Plankenhorn.

The Cogan House Covered Bridge was constructed by a millwright who assembled the timber framework in a field next to the sawmill, before it was reassembled at the bridge site. It was the only bridge on Larrys Creek that survived the flood of June 1889, and one of only a handful that were left intact in the county. Although the bridge used to carry a steady flow of tannery and sawmill traffic, the clearcutting of the surrounding forests meant the end of those industries by the early 20th century.

The route to the bridge.
The other side.
A look inside.
Cattle on a hill en route to the bridge.

A Drive Up Route 44, Part I

My trip on this Juneteenth weekend began in earnest when I turned left from Route 15 onto Route 44 in Lycoming County. I was soon at my first stop of the day.

Upper Pine Bottom State Park is one of the smallest parks in the state park system, measuring in at 5 acres. It provides picnic tables next to a stream and access to hunting and fishing. It also acts as an entry point for hiking and cross country skiing in the nearby Tiadaghton State Forest.

Yes, we are here.
A nice place for a picnic, with a stream beyond.

My next stop was Ole Bull State Park which lies off Route 44 and a short distance down Route 144. Ole Bull State Park consists of 132 acres along the Kettle Creek Valley in Potter County in an area called the Black Forest because of its dense tree cover, mountainous terrain, and wilderness habitat. The park has a fascinating history. It is named for Ole Bornemann Bull, the famous Norwegian violinist who toured the United States in the 1850s. In 1852, Ole Bull purchased a large tract of land in Potter County and attempted to develop a series of Norwegian settlements. He began construction of a home, at what now is called Ole Bull Vista, which has never finished. After a year of severe hardships, the majority of the colony disbanded and moved west into Michigan and Wisconsin.

The park has swimming in Kettle Creek, a campground, and the usual array of state park activities.

The swimming area in Kettle Creek. I bet this was cold.
A monument to Ole Bull, provided by the citizens of Norway, in 2002.
A bridge over Kettle Creek to the campground.
Further up Route 44 is Water Tank Vista.

Lyman Run State Park was next on the list. One of several parks in this area with a dam, it has a 45 acre lake, swimming, camping, boating and other activities.

Another “refreshing” dip.
A view of the dam.
Nice bridge to picnic area.

A daytime visit to Cherry Springs State Park followed. This park is well known for being one of the best spots on the east coast for dark nighttime skies and astronomical viewing. The park has a public astronomy field for short term viewing and an overnight field. There is also a campground and opportunities for hiking.

A stargazing dome at the park.
A picnic area.
A sunset view at Cherry Springs State Park.

This park is beloved, but I have to admit I was a bit disappointed when I returned the following night. The weather was fairly clear with low humidity, and the moon was below the horizon. However, I didn’t feel that the number of visible stars was significantly better than what I could see an hour from home in southeastern Pennsylvania. I didn’t attempt to photograph any. I have seen much better displays of stars during my adulthood in the Florida Keys and on the eastern shore of Maryland.

Near the park is Cherry Springs Vista, which sits directly on Route 44.

Cherry Springs Vista – this is one of my favorite types of views, all trees as far as the eye can see.