The Rishel / Montandon Bridge has been cited as the earliest existing covered bridge in the country. The Rishel Bridge was originally constructed by John Shriner and Zacheus Braley, between 1825 and 1827. The bridge is still serving the public in the same location where it was built, at least 182 years later!
According to the official historical record, the sign that was added to the bridge displays the wrong year for the date that the bridge was built. This bridge was in service in 1827, and possibly even earlier than that. This very important historic site was listed on the United States National Register of Historic Places on August 8, 1979.
This bridge was inundated in 1972 by the areas worst flood. It was the result of severe rainstorms from the remnants of hurricane Agnes. The Agnes low pressure system became nearly stationary over central and north eastern Pennsylvania. That caused this area’s most devestating flood disaster on record. The flood water line is clearly marked on the bridge, just below the roof! After the waters had finally receded, the bridge was still there, but badly damaged. The bridge required substantial “strengthening” after the flood. That work was completed in 1982. The bridge is owned and maintained by Northumberland County.
High Water Mark from the 1972 Agnes flood
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.
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 1/4th sec at f/9.5. The camera’s ISO was set to 100. A Manfrotto, tripod was used.
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© 2009 Gene Walls
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