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Oldest American Covered Bridge, The Rishel by Gene Walls

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Oldest American Covered Bridge, The Rishel by 

The Rishel Bridge is the oldest structure of its type still in daily use in the United States. The Rishel Bridge was built by John Shriner and Zacheus Braley. Official historical documents differ slightly regarding the year of construction as being between 1825 and 1827. (The sign above the entrance of the bridge has been found to be slightly in error, in that it proclaims “Built 1830”.) It is also known as The Montandon Covered Bridge.

This bridge was inundated in 1972 by the areas worst flood that was the result of severe rainstorms from the remnants of hurricane Agnes. The flood water line is clearly marked on the bridge, just below the roof! The bridge required substantial “strengthening” after the flood, and was completed in 1982.

This beautiful bridge is located just east of Montandon, Pennsylvania on state RT-45 (just a few miles from Lewisburg, PA), It is on Covered Bridge Road as it crosses the Chillisquaque Creek. The bridge is still open to traffic, in fact, several cars passed through the bridge while I was photographing it. However, there are severe restrictions on vehicle weight and height.

The Montandon / Rishel Covered Bridge is officially listed in the National Register of Historic Places, as of August 8, 1979.

This photo was captured with a Canon EOS 10D body fitted with a Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L Zoom lens, at the widest focal length. The shutter speed was 1/45th sec at f/6.7. The camera’s ISO was set to 100. A Manfrotto, tripod was used.

Your comments are always welcome! Constructive criticism is appreciated.

© 2009 Gene Walls

All copyright and reproduction rights are retained by the artist. Artwork may not be reproduced or altered by any process without the express written permission of the artist.

695 Views, as of 7/9/11

Hello, My name is Gene. I live in the Susquehanna river valley (West Branch), in the mountains of north central Pennsylvania. I strive to produce photographic images that are simply “true” to the subject, usually with minimal post processing. If something is beautiful or interesting enough to deserve a viewer’s attention, it justifies being captured just as it is …or as close to reality as possible.

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  • mttmaliha
    mttmalihaover 5 years ago

    Gosh— i want to walk this bridge in the worst way!! Lovely, Gene!

  • Anytime you would like, I would gladly show you this bridge. It’s a true work of art.

    It wasn’t a fun shoot, though. The place is extremely overgrown, and there are no good places to shoot from, because the adjoining property is heavily fenced in and posted “No Trespassing”. I came home with a bad case of skin poison and nasty bug bites. I also had an encounter with a black snake there, but, at least I didn’t get bitten.

    Oh, what we do for our crazy passions.

    The bridge itself was a total pleasure!!!

    – Gene Walls

  • CraigsMom
    CraigsMomover 5 years ago

    Beautiful, Gene. I love the detail photos you included.

  • Thank you so much, Mary-Ann! This one was kind of special to me, due to its historical significance.


    – Gene Walls

  • Evita
    Evitaover 5 years ago

    ♥ Wonderful bridge, excellent capture Gene !! :D ♥

  • Thanks a lot, Evita!


    – Gene Walls

  • Judy Seltenright
    Judy Seltenrightover 5 years ago

    Thank you for sharing this lovely oldest CB with us Gene. You are like a friend of mine BK Von Bernhard AKA as Pop. He gets right down almost on top of the train tracks for his shots. If I seen that snake my feet good not travel fast enough.

  • Much appreciated, Judy! I don’t mind snakes much, I just don’t like stepping on them unexpectedly. I was checking my view of the bridge when I should have been watching where I was going instead. The snake was “sunning” himself on a dark rock beside the stream. When they are warming up in the sun they get very sluggish, so he didn’t even try to bite. I did jump back pretty quickly, though. Around here, a black snake near water could easily be a cottonmouth moccasin, but this one wasn’t poisonous.

    My best,


    – Gene Walls

  • Joy Watson
    Joy Watsonover 5 years ago

    Great capture and information Gene.

  • Thanks a bunch, Joy!

    Best wishes,


    – Gene Walls

  • jeanlphotos
  • Thank you very, very much, Jean! It really warms my heart to find this photo on the “Featured Photography” page!

    Very gratefully,


    – Gene Walls

  • Kornrawiee
    Kornrawieeover 2 years ago

    So very beautiful, I love how you have arrangement. Pretty happy when consider your work:)
    Best regards,
    For your thoughtfully;
    Nature Quote of the Day
    Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine.
    Anthony J. D’Angelo said:)

  • Thank you very much for your extremely kind comment, Sunny! I deeply appreciate your uplifting words!

    Most gratefully,


    – Gene Walls

  • Hope Ledebur
    Hope Ledeburalmost 2 years ago

    Congrats on your feature Gene. I did all but one of the Covered Bridges in Columbia and Montour Counties in 2009, 23 Bridges in one day. Missed Fowlersville as PA Parks were closed because of budget woes. LOL, by then I had a blood blister and it was too far to walk in. I had done Ricketts Glen the Day before. Quite a beautiful area. My image," Burning Through the Mist" was taken on the way home from that trip.

  • Thank you very kindly, Hope! I am slowly completing a photographic record of all of the historic covered bridges in north central Pennsylvania. The Rishel bridge was badly damaged in Sept. 2011, when hurricanes Irene and Lee hit our area. I documented the damages last year. Those photos are shown in my RedBubble “Covered Bridges” collection.

    A friend and I just completed a winter shoot at Ricketts Glen. We went on New Years Eve, just after two snowstorms had covered out area in white. Those photos are displayed in my “Ricketts Glen In Winter” collection.

    I visited your RB site to see your covered bridge shots, but I didn’t find them. I saw your waterfall photos, though. You have a lot of truly beautiful captures there.

    Kindest regards,


    – Gene Walls

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