As many times as I had passed through Clearfield County, I had failed to explore the southern portion of the county. That was all changing as I drove southward on Route 219 in search of the only covered bridge still existing within the county’s borders. I arrived at McGees Mills, a collection of houses at the junction of Routes 219 and 36, just south of the community of Mahaffey.
Just past the intersection, I turned onto Covered Bridge Road and could see the bridge ahead of me. Parking at the gravel lot near the bridge, I got out and studied the covered bridge – the only remaining covered bridge to span the Susquehanna.
The sides of the bridge are painted the familiar red with the wood around the entrances painted white. Nearby there stands a historical marker that tells the history of the bridge. Off to one side and down a set of steps is a small park giving the visitor a view of the bridge and a beautiful place to enjoy a picnic.
The McGees Mills Covered Bridge, erected by Thomas McGee, was the last covered bridge to be erected in Clearfield County and the final one to be built over the West Branch. The bridge was built in 1873 by local lumberman McGee.
According to local history, the county commissioners had approached McGee with $1500 to build a bridge. McGee erected it at the cost of $175 and returned the rest of the money, saving the county a lot of money.
Built using white pine, the bridge replaced one at this location that was destroyed by a flood in the spring of 1873. The single-span bridge has a length of one hundred and nine feet and features a Burr arch truss.
The bridge has undergone at least two renovations. The first was in 1975 and the second in 1995 when the roof collapsed after a heavy snowfall the year before.
I finished photographing the bridge as another vehicle pulled into the lot. The couple had a basket with them and went about spreading out a blanket and preparing their picnic lunch. I knew when I got back into the area, I would definitely have to bring my own packed lunch so I too could enjoy the beautiful location along the flowing waters of the West Branch,.