Along the Way: Knisley and Ryot Covered Bridges

knisley ryot
Knisley Covered Bridge. Insert: Ryot Covered Bridge

Note: This is a part of the Bedford County Covered Bridge tour I went on. Each bridge in the tour has directions from the previous bridge. In all, eight covered bridges will be featured in this tour. The tour order is: Osterburg, Snooks, Knisley and Ryot, Cuppett and Gravity Hill, Colvin, and Herline and Turner Covered Bridges.

I continued my journey by passing through Snooks Covered Bridge and took a right immediate upon exiting the bridge onto Ridge Market Road. Driving roughly half a mile, I came to the intersection with Route 56, also known as Quaker Valley Road, crossing it, I drove along Dunnings Creek Road.

Immediately, I could see the Knisley – also known as Kinseley, Knisley’s and Dr. Knisley’s – Covered Bridge on the right side of the road. There was a small pull-off in front of the bridge and parking there, I got out and looking around. The bridge appears to be on private property, but I did not see any “No Trespassing” or “Posted” signs in the area. A worn path from the parking area to the bridge encouraged me to go explore.

Erected in 1867, the Knisley Covered Bridge spans Dunnings Creek. The Burr Truss bridge has a single-span and a length of eighty-six feet. The very bottom of the bridge is covered – the outside with horizontal boards and the inside with vertical boards. Like the majority of Bedford County’s covered bridges, this one is painted white with red trim. The bridge once was on the main road between Pleasantville and Fishertown, but in the early 1900s, a new bridge was erected over Dunnings Creek on Route 56, detouring the traffic away from the bridge. Knisley Covered Bridge was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.

Leaving Knisley Covered Bridge, I continued along Dunnings Creek Road to the Ryot Covered Bridge, located two and a half miles away, Located on Bowser Road at the intersection with Dunnings Creek Road, the bridge is still in use and the day of my visit, it was a busy intersection as vehicles zipped through the bridge on their journey.

Note In the book Pennsylvania’s Covered Bridges: A Complete Guide (Evans and Evans, Second Edition) it states there is parking along Dunnings Creek Road, but I’m not sure where the parking was. There is the end of a driveway at the intersection, but the safest place to park is a short distance away along Bowser Road. Also, the guidebook states this parking spot is for both the Ryot and Cuppett Covered Bridges – Cuppett is roughly a mile a way and there is parking at it, so I’m not sure why they list it as such

Taking its name from the nearby community or Ryot, this covered bridge features a single-span, Burr Truss design with vertical boards covering the bottom two-thirds of the bridge. It is eighty-one feet long and allows vehicles to cross over Dunnings Creek. Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980, the bridge crosses the stream at the Jacob Beckling Fording. Originally built in 1867, the bridge was restored in 1995, lost to arson in 2002, and rebuilt and reopened to traffic in 2004. Like all of the restored covered bridges in Bedford County, this one is painted white with red trim and features a marker with its history. Ryot Covered Bridge was removed from the National Register of Historic Places because there was not enough of the original bridge remaining when it was rebuilt, thus at this time it was deemed as having no historic significance.

The wind began to blow harder and in the distance, there was a rumble of thunder. There was one more covered bridge nearby I hoped to get to before the rains began. Getting into the vehicle, I punched the location in the GPS and set out, glad to leave the busy intersection behind.

Note: While talking to another friend who photographs covered bridges, evidently I picked a strange day to visit. He informed me in all the times he has photographed the Ryot Covered Bridge, he has only had “a car or two” during each visit. Maybe I just picked a bad day, but it was really busy the day I visited.

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