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.
As I prepared to leave Forry’s Mill Covered Bridge, I realized the easiest way to get to the next covered bridge was to pass through a nearby housing development. After a short debate with myself, I decided to take the slightly longer, but more scenic journey to the next stop. Passing through Forry’s Mill Covered Bridge, I passed the old Forry House on my right and continued to Pinkerton Road. After waiting on a line of horse-drawn buggies to pass through the intersection, I turned right and then another right at Siegrist Road. Roughly a half mile later, the Siegrist Mill Covered Bridge came into sight.
Of all the covered bridges I had stopped at, this was the only one that had no place to safely pull to the edge of the road, so I knew I would have very little time to spend investigating it. I passed through the bridge and a short distance later, found a place to safely turn around and I approached the bridge from that direction. I found a place to pull slightly off the edge of the road, and turned the hazard lights on.
While I had thought Forry’s Mill Covered Bridge was busy, Siegrist’s Mill Covered Bridge was much busier as people were out jogging and biking in full force. I walked toward the historical placard, which stood on the right side on the bridge on the West Hempfield side of the stream. Like the nearby Forry’s Mill Covered Bridge, this one spans Chiques Creek, connecting West Hempfield and Rapho Townships.
Also known as Big Chiques #6 and Moore’s Mill Covered Bridge, Siegrist’s Mill Covered Bridge has a double Burr Arch truss and a total length of 102 feet. It is painted the traditional red with the approaches painted white.
Siegrist’s Mill Covered bridge was originally erected in 1885 by James C. Carpenter, a noted builder of covered bridges in Lancaster County, and was named after the Siegrist family. Note: James C. Carpenter was born in 1817 and in his lifetime, he erected nine covered bridges in Lancaster County, second only to Elias McMellen. Carpenter died in December 1886 and was placed to rest in Lancaster Cemetery, Lancaster.
A local story tells that during one summer, two men from the county poorhouse lived under the bridge while working for the Siegrist family. The two men nailed plaques with scriptures written on them to the bridge before they went back to the poorhouse at summer’s end. This caused the bridge to also be called “The Scripture Bridge” by locals. These scriptures were still there when it was washed from its foundation in 2011 by the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee. In the aftermath of being washed downstream, the bridge underwent repairs and was lifted onto higher abutments in July 2013. It was reopened to the public in August of the same year. Note: On a number of covered bridge websites, it is listed that the 2013 bridge is a complete reconstruction with new materials. However, in the April 29, 2014 edition of the Intelligencer Journal / Lancaster New Era (Lancaster, Pa), it is stated fifteen percent of the 2013 covered bridge was built from wood of the original 1885 covered bridge.
Seeing there was very little space to park on either side of the covered bridge, I did not explore as much as I had other bridges that day. After taking my pictures, I headed back to the vehicle and prepared to move on. Glancing at the clock, I knew I would soon have to turn the vehicle toward home; however, I still had the time to visit two more bridges before calling it a day.
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