About The Site
Bucks County is known for its picturesque collection of twelve covered bridges that survive in various locations, including in a state park, in remote scenic areas, and along the Delaware River. Since the 1950s, these wooden structures have been the focus of regional tourism campaigns and numerous “safaris,” where enthusiasts seek out the bridges as a way to appreciate the county’s natural beauty and historic landscape.
While this website records where those bridges are, it is not necessarily a guide to touring them. Instead, it is part of a broader effort to understand how Bucks County adapted covered bridge technology in a 19th-century landscape that also featured canals and mills, and how the County helped lead efforts to preserve the remaining bridges in the 1950s.
To do that, we need to look at the 51 covered bridges known to have existed at one time in Bucks County and understand their histories based on evidence. This website features visual and written documentation compiled by the Bucks Bridges Project, a comprehensive effort to gather primary and secondary information about local bridges from numerous sources. (A full list of resources is provided on the site.)
The main sources of information reside in the Mercer Museum Library in Doylestown, which also contains records on deposit from the Commissioners of the County of Bucks. These archives have contributed more than 130 images to this site, most of which are published here for the first time. The Theodore Burr Coverage Bridge Society of Pennsylvania contributed important photographs and archival information to the project.
The Mercer Museum Library also holds a “codex” of sorts – a volume of bridge information compiled in 1919 by Adam Oscar Martin, the county engineer and a well-known local architect who inventoried, photographed, and measured more than 300 county bridges in a six-month period. That codex helps to explain the disappearance of 22 of the County’s covered bridges between 1902 and 1940.
The popular Curatescape publishing system showcases this information using stories linked to interactive maps that locate and place the bridges in a contemporary context. Users will find this helpful, not only to see where bridges were built but also to understand their importance to the economy of an earlier era.
To contribute more information to the Bucks Bridges Project, or to comment on the content of this site, e-mail the Mercer Museum Library at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Mercer Museum and Library is indebted to Arizona State University graduate student Scott Bomboy, who conducted the research, identified images, and documents, authored the text, and organized the stories and information for this website.
We hope users enjoy and learn from the site, and that it encourages continued preservation and appreciation of Bucks County’s rich history and varied landscape.