Forry’s Mill Covered Bridge

Forry’s Mill 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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Having visited the covered bridges spanning Pequea Creek, I headed to northwest of Lancaster to continue my exploration. I stayed west of the city as I drove northward and turned westward onto Route 23 toward Marietta. The fog had finally lifted and now it was gone, the traffic had greatly increased as residents began to enjoy the day. The rush of traffic had me passing a number of small graveyards and I made mental note to return one day to visit them, but at the moment, I was more interested in finishing my planned tour of Lancaster County.

I turned onto Bridge Valley Road and had only traveled roughly a quarter of a mile when the covered bridge appeared before me. I parked a short distance away near the electrical station and walked toward the historical placard located by the bridge. The sudden warmth of the day made the bridge a busy place as numerous joggers and bicyclists joined the automobiles that passed through the covered bridge.

Forry’s Mill Covered Bridge spans the Chiques Creek, connecting West Hempfield and Rapho Townships and while the address is listed as Columbia, the bridge is just a short distance from Marietta. Forry’s Mill Covered Bridge, also known as Big Chiques #7 and John Forry’s, is a single span featuring a double Burr arch truss. With a total length of 103 feet, it is the final covered bridge to cross Chiques Creek before the stream empties into the Susquehanna River. Like the majority of Lancaster County’s covered bridges, it is painted the traditional red with the approaches painted white. Note: Historically, the stream flowing beneath the bridge was spelled “Chickies.” In 2002, the official spelling became “Chiques.”

The covered bridge was originally built in 1869 by noted bridge builder Elias McMellen and takes its name from the Forry family, whose stone house still overlooks the bridge on the western bank of Chiques Creek. Note: McMellen would erect a number of covered bridges in the region, many of which still remain. Born on November 16, 1829, McMellen would erect his first covered bridge at the age of twenty at Snavely’s Mill. McMellen would serve during the U. S. Civil War, where he rose to the rank of Captain. After the war, McMellen returned to Lancaster County and continued to erect covered bridges. After his death on March 2, 1916, he was placed to rest in the grounds of Greenwood Cemetery in Lancaster.

In 1925, Forry’s Mill Covered Bridge underwent repairs and a massive reconstruction in the summer of 1986 after being struck by a tractor trailer earlier that year. Surprisingly, while the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee knocked nearby Siegrist’s Mill Covered Bridge off its abutments, Forry’s Mill managed to escape with minimal damage.

As I was leaving Forry’s Mill Covered Bridge two more vehicles parked next to mine. I recognized the one family, having encountered them earlier in the day at Lime Valley Covered Bridge. I then set out to explore and photograph another of Lancaster County’s Covered Bridges, one that is located just up stream from where I was currently standing.

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