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Bridge draw's magazine's attention

December 18, 1998

By RICHARD F. BELISLE / Staff Writer, Waynesboro

photo: RICHARD T. MEAGHER / staff photographer




GREENCASTLE, Pa. - From now on, it's going to be life in the slow lane for Georgia King.

King, a longtime proponent of Martin's Mill Covered Bridge, and member of the historic landmark's board of directors, submitted an article to "Life in the Slow Lane," a new book on covered bridges.

An ad in a woman's magazine tipped her off that the publisher was seeking submissions.

"I wrote in on a whim and sent it in," she said.

King said she used excerpts from a grant application written by S. Evon Barvinchack, a Greencastle chiropractor and like King a member of the Martin's Mill Covered Bridge Association board of directors.

Her piece appears on page 89 of the 184-page book.

The book attempts to give reasons covered bridges were built and what purposes they served. It also contains nearly 200 personal memories of favorite covered bridges.

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King wrote that Martins's Mill Bridge was built in 1849 over the Conococheague Creek at a site that held a grist mill and saw mill until the early 1900s.

The area around the bridge now is a nature preserve, and the association, which owns the bridge, also owns a campground and park upriver from the span.

"Martin's Mill Covered Bridge is a quiet reminder of past times for residents of local and surrounding communities," King wrote. "The bridge and adjacent park area provide a scenic historical recreational facility and educational tool for area schools - a place of quiet and solitude for reflection on one's thoughts."

King said she usually goes to the bridge on Sunday mornings to enjoy a cup of coffee and the serenity the bridge offers.

The bridge was built with town lattice trusses - no arches or exterior supports were used in the construction. The lattice work, resembling a crisscross garden fence, is pinned together with wooden pegs. The construction method became popular in Pennsylvania bridge construction in the early 19th century.

The bridge was knocked off its piers in a 1972 flood. Two-thirds of the structure remained intact but was carried downstream for some distance. The other third broke up on the bank.

The Association started a fund drive in August 1972 and raised enough money to rebuild the bridge. It reopened in May 1973 on piers that were five feet higher than the originals.

The association this year received two grants, one for $58,000, the other for $10,000. The money is being spent on rebuilding and protecting the upriver stream banks with gabions. The banks on both sides of the bridge have been deteriorated by erosion, and it was feared the bridge would be affected one day, King said.

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