Sach’s Covered Bridge slated for some TLC

The Adams County Commissioners learned at Wednesday’s meeting that Sach’s Covered Bridge will receive a coat of paint and some fire retardant free of charge.

The Theodore Burr Covered Bridge Society of Pennsylvania will perform the work. The Society is dedicated to the preservation and restoration of covered bridges in Pennsylvania.

Society president Robert Kuether said members of the non-profit organization visit bridges throughout Pennsylvania to see which needs painting or repair and then, funding permitting, they create a list of projects and contact the bridge caretakers.

“We haven’t done anything for three years because of COVID but now are getting back to our goal,” he said. Kuether added that at one time there were more than 1,500 covered bridges in Pennsylvania but now only 209 remain. “We still have more than any other state in the union,” he added.

Also known as Sauk’s Covered Bridge, the 100-foot bridge over Marsh Creek was declared “Pennsylvania’s most historic covered bridge in 1938 and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. On July 1, 1863, it was crossed by the Union Army heading towards Gettysburg and four days later, was crossed by General Robert E. Lee’s retreating army after the Union victory.

Designed as a Town truss-covered bridge, it consists of wooden beams crisscrossed to form a lattice. The cost to build it in 1854 was $1,544. The lattice-style truss Bridge was patented in 1820 by architect Ithiel Town. A plan to replace the bridge in 1960 was rejected eight years later when Cumberland Township officials voted to close it to vehicular traffic.

In 1996, it was severely damaged by flood waters and carried almost 100 yards downstream. It was repaired by the Gettysburg Battlefield Preservation Association at the cost of about $600,000 and rededicated the following year.

Open only to foot traffic since 1968, the site is a major attraction for Gettysburg visitors, nature lovers, and ghost hunters. It is one of four covered bridges in Adams County.

The group will repaint the outside of the bridge red, a practice that began long ago when iron ore (rust), skimmed milk, and lime were mixed together to provide a cheaper alternative for covering barns and bridges. Since it was a reddish color, the tradition remained, even after paint became more affordable. Inside, the bare wood will be treated with a transparent fire retardant.

More information on the Theodore Burr Covered Bridge Society can be found at or by contacting society treasurer Judy Keuther at Contributions are welcome to help the Society continue to preserve this part of PA history.

Other Board Business

Sonia Wise has been approved to serve as Assistant Public Defender effective June 12. She is replacing former assistant public defender Scott Harper who was appointed as Adams County Chief Public Defender in March of this year.

“I have a passion for working with indigent people,” Wise said. Even when working with a private firm, the former York County assistant public defender said she still took many court-appointed cases. She said she is excited about coming to Adams County where she once interned in the public defender’s office. “Everyone in the bar association was so wonderful and supportive and the judges were very fair and had a great command of the law.”

Wise has served as a member of the United States Army Non-Commissioned Officer Corps and believes that what she fought for in that arena is what she will continue to uphold in her new job. Although she finds the Adams County housing market tough, she plans on moving here soon with her child.

Wise is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University, Delaware Valley University, and Widener Law Commonwealth. She is an active member of the Young Lawyer’s Division and the Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (PACDL).

A contract in the amount of nearly $490,000 has been awarded to Jay Fulkroad & Sons, Inc. of McAlisterville for maintenance repairs of 40 county bridges. Commissioner Randy Phiel said that the next highest bid was in the $600,000 range and Commissioner James Martin thanked the bridge engineer for carefully reviewing the bids for the project.

A project modification made possible because of lower than-budgeted costs in other areas, will provide money to be used in the area of awards for STOP Violence Against Women officers and STOP events. The county received $375,000 in federal funds. The purpose of the grants program is to support communities in their efforts to develop and strengthen effective responses to domestic violence, dating, violence, sexual assault, and stalking through multidisciplinary collaboration.

Featured image: Wikipedia

+ posts

Judith Cameron Seniura is a freelance reporter. She began her journalism career in the early ‘70s and has written for newspapers, magazines, and other media in Ontario, Canada, Alaska, Michigan, Nebraska, San Antonio, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x