Covered bridges symbolize small-town America. Picturesque and sentimental, “kissing bridges” recall a time when life was simpler and closer to the land. Covered bridges complement autumn leaves and autumn emotions. Photogenic and often remote from the Interstate Highways and cities of the twentieth century, covered bridges lure the explorer to find the little streams and dirt roads that the twentieth century has almost passed by.
Columbia County, PA and Montour County, PA are known for their rural beauty and outstanding quality of life. The Counties are home to the towns of Danville, PA; Bloomsburg, PA; Berwick, PA; and Benton, PA – not to mention twenty-five covered bridges in PA. This is the third largest concentration of covered bridges in Pennsylvania. On a yearly basis, visitors from all over the world come and admire the antiqued craftsmanship used to construct these spans. No two covered bridges are alike and each one has its own history, personality, and story to tell.
Twin Covered Bridges in Columbia County, PA
Of all the covered bridges in the country, Columbia County, PA is home to one of the only two remaining twin covered bridges in the country, located in Forks, PA. The twin covered bridges, also known as the East and West Paden Bridges, are Columbia County’s prized covered bridges.
The East and West Paden covered bridges in PA were built in 1850 by W.C. Pennington. Both of these magnificent marvels are the Burr-Arch design, a very popular design used on numerous covered bridges in PA. The twin bridges were named for a local sawmill operator named John Paden. The two bridges cross over the Huntington creek. The smaller East Paden bridge, measures only 79 feet long, while the larger West Paden bridge measures 103 feet long. Both bridges were built for merely $720.00. The twin covered bridges in PA were used for transportation purposes for a little over a century.
In 1962, Columbia County began preservation efforts after the bridges began to weather away. By 1963, the twin covered bridges were left open only for foot traffic. The original bridges were restored and left intact until 45 years later when in 2006 a torrential flood washed away the original West Paden covered bridge. In 2008 the West Paden bridge was rebuilt using parts of the original bridge and re-opened. The twin covered bridges and the park that surrounds them are a welcome respite for any weary traveler.
Driving Map of Columbia & Montour County Covered Bridges
We have compiled a comprehensive brochure of our 25 covered bridges that includes a driving map and turn by turn directions. The brochure will take you on a historical and educational journey through our beloved covered bridges built on hard work, craftsmanship, and determination.
Read the articles below that have been written on some of the covered bridges in Columbia and Montour Counties:
- Saving the Past – The Josiah Hess Covered Bridge (PDF)
- A Bridge to the Past – Stillwater Covered Bridge (PDF)
- Trials and Tribulations of a Historic Pair of Covered Bridges – The History of the Twin Covered Bridges (PDF)
- Why are Covered Bridges Covered? (PDF)
- Discover What’s Covered (PDF)
- The Way I Remember it – Lawrence Knoebel Covered Bridge (PDF)
Covered Bridge Puzzle
As a unique memento for covered bridge enthusiasts, beginning in 2011, the Columbia-Montour Visitors Bureau began producing a 500-piece jigsaw puzzle each year, featuring one of its 25 covered bridges. Releasing each September, this collector’s item is now entering its fourth year. The initial puzzle featured the Twin Covered Bridges in Forks, PA in the late summer/early fall and the second featured the Lawrence L. Knoebel Covered Bridge in Elysburg, PA in the winter. Both of these editions have sold out, but a framed copy of each puzzle is on display for viewing at the Danville Welcome Center.
The 2013 Covered Bridge Puzzle featured the Keefer Mill Covered Bridge in spring/summer. Keefer Mill Covered Bridge is located in Liberty Township, Montour County, and spans Chillisquaque Creek. It is on Township Route 346 off 3012, near Washingtonville and east of PA Route 54. The Keefer Mill Covered Bridge was built in 1853 by William Butler for $498. The site was near Geringer’s Mill. Montour County records list it as the Keefer Mill bridge, possibly named after a well-known bridge builder, George W. Keefer. The puzzle photo was taken by Robert Brown of Premier Studios (Danville).
The 2014 Covered Bridge Puzzle featured the Twin Bridges in a winter setting.
For the 2015 Puzzle the Visitors Bureau held a photo contest on social media. Margie Hunsinger, of Catawissa, won with her fall photo of the Esther Furnace Covered Bridge.
Look for this year’s puzzle to be released at the end of September.
The puzzles retails for $12, tax included. A donation of $2 from every puzzle sold will be made by the Bureau to the Columbia County Covered Bridge Association. Puzzles may be purchased at either Visitors Bureau Welcome Center (Columbia County: 121 Papermill Road, Bloomsburg; Montour County: 316 Mill Street, Danville). A limited quantity of 500 puzzles are available and are on a first come first serve basis. For more information, or to order your puzzle over the phone (shipping charges will be added), please call 1-800-847-4810.
Annual Covered Bridge and Arts Festival – Celebrating Our Beloved Covered Bridges
Join us each October for our Annual Covered Bridge and Arts Festival. Produced and coordinated by the Columbia-Montour Visitors Bureau, the 33rd Annual Covered Bridge and Arts Festival is being held on October 2-5, 2014 at Knoebels Amusement Resort.
Visitors can browse through nearly 350 crafters and enjoy food from over 35 different vendors. Join us at the Annual Covered Bridge and Arts Festival for free entertainment, a car show, fun auction, rides, and much more, there is something for everyone. During the festival, we also offer bus tours of some area covered bridges.
Click here to read More about the history of the Covered Bridge and Arts Festival.
For more detailed festival information, please visit their webpage.