Colemanville Covered Bridge

Colemanville Covered Bridge, Lancaster County

Note: Although this is a part of a series, each article can be read individually and in any order. Stops on this journey include: Neff’s Mill Covered Bridge, Lime Valley Covered Bridge, Byerland Mennonite Meetinghouse, Baumgardner’s Mill Covered Bridge, Colemanville Covered Bridge, Forry’s Mill Covered Bridge, Siegrist’s Mill Covered Bridge, Kauffman’s Distillery Covered Bridge, and Shearer’s Covered Bridge.

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Leaving Baumgardner’s Mill Covered Bridge, I continued on Baumgardner’s Church Road, before making a right onto Route 415, also known as Frogtown Road. At the intersection with Route 324 in Marticville, I turned left and headed southward over the mountains.

Approaching my next covered bridge from this direction, I had to make a sharp left onto Fox Hollow Road and only moments after turning onto this road, I could see the bridge ahead of me. Pulling to the edge of the road, I put on the hazard lights and stepped out to read the nearby historical placard before setting out to explore the bridge.

The Colemanville Covered Bridge sits roughly two miles from the Susquehanna River, spanning the Pequea Creek at the community of Colemanville. The community had grown up around the iron industry and by 1832, it had a forge, rolling mill, and nail factory. The community was named after Robert Coleman, an early ironmaster who operated the Martic Furnace.

Note: While Robert Coleman was a noted iron master, judge, politician, and veteran of the War of 1812, it would be his daughter most people remember. Ann Coleman, who died in 1819, was the fiancé of a young James Buchanan, who would later be elected the Fifteenth President of the United States.

Walking toward the covered bridge, I noted it was painted the traditional red and – unlike the previous bridges I had visited that morning – the approach was painted red with a white trim around the entrance. Also known as Pequea #12 and Martic Forge Covered Bridge, it features a single span, a Burr arch truss and a total length of 170 feet, connecting Martic and Conestoga Townships.

The original Colemanville Covered Bridge was erected in 1856 by James C. Carpenter. Due to damage caused by flooding, the bridge was partially rebuilt in 1938 by Edmund Gardner and again in 1973 by David Esh. In 1990, a new covered bridge was erected seventy-five yards west of the original at a better and higher location. This new covered bridge would also be called the Colemanville Covered Bridge and was the second longest and also the highest in Lancaster County. Note: Only Hunsecker’s Covered Bridge is currently longer. The original Colemanville Covered Bridge was longer than the Hunsecker Bridge.

While the new bridge was constructed of modern materials, a piece of the historic bridge was supposed to be included as a part of the new bridge for “continuity” purposes. Note: While this statement made the July 16, 1991 edition of the Intelligencer Journal (Lancaster, Pa), I was not able to determine how large this piece from the historic bridge was and, if it was placed, where it was included in the new covered bridge.

I walked the length of the covered bridge and twice had to step to the side to allow vehicles to pass, which they were safely able to do. On the opposite side, I set up the camera and snapped some photos of the covered bridge basking in the morning rays. I finished my pictures before returning through the bridge to the vehicle and leaving it to soak in the early morning warmth.

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