Over the last couple years I’ve journeyed to Ohio to visit the longest covered bridge in the United States and to Vermont and New Hampshire to visit the second longest. Having visited them, I turned my attention to the longest covered bridge still standing within the Pennsylvania borders. Note: The longest covered bridge can be found here: Smolen-Gulf Covered Bridge and the second longest can be found here: Cornish-Windsor Covered Bridge.
I was on my way to Harrisburg and knowing I had extra time, I decided to detour to visit the the longest covered bridge within the borders of Pennsylvania. Driving along Route 75 southward from Port Royal, I was taken in by the rolling hills of the Tuscarora Valley. It had been a while since I had last ventured into the valley to visit the location of Fort Bigham. At the time, I had not thought about visiting the covered bridge that was just a short distance north of Route 75. Note: The history of Fort Bigham can be found here: Fort Bigham.
I turned off Route 75 onto Spruce Hill Road and followed it northward toward the community of Academia. Roughly a mile north of the intersection, I crossed over Tuscarora Creek and could see the covered bridge off to the right. After crossing the creek, I turned right onto Mill Road and drove a short distance to the covered bridge. On this side of the bridge, there was no available parking, so I pulled to the side of the road and turned on the hazard lights and got out of the vehicle.
Glancing around, I could see the covered bridge nearby and a couple of markers that explained the history of the bridge. Following the old roadway that lead to the bridge, I paused at the information plaques, placed by the Juniata County Historical Society, to read about the history of the covered bridge.
Originally known as the Pomeroy Covered Bridge, in the modern era it is mostly referred to as the Academia Covered Bridge or the Pomeroy-Academia Covered Bridge after the nearby community. The covered bridge is named after Joseph Pomeroy who dammed Tuscarora Creek at this location to power his flour mill.
The first bridge erected at this location was to allow farmers on the opposite side of the Tuscarora Creek access to the mill located here. This bridge was destroyed by flooding and ice in 1901. The following year James M. Groninger erected the covered bridge at this location. Note: It was not known if the first bridge to cross Tuscarora Creek here was a covered bridge or not.
The bridge is two hundred and seventy-eight long, has two spans and features a Burr Truss design. The Pomeroy-Academia Covered Bridge is supported by a stone pillar at the midway point. In 1962, due to deteriorating conditions, the covered bridge was bypassed by a modern bridge. The covered bridge underwent a full restoration in 2008 and remains open to pedestrian traffic.
Inside the Pomeroy-Academia Covered Bridge, roughly at the midway point, is a log for visitors to sign. In a strange coincidence, I opened the log book to sign it only to discover that I knew the young couple who had visited the covered bridge earlier in the day – I had previously worked with the two of them.
After walking the length of the covered bridge and photographing it from many angles, I walked back to the vehicle and I drove back out to Spruce Hill Road. After making sure no cars were coming, I paused on the modern bridge to take a couple photographs of the picturesque covered bridge. I finished taking the photographs and left the peacefulness of the area as I resumed my journey towards Harrisburg.