Zimmerman's Covered Bridge - Pennsylvania's Covered Bridges

So greetings from Pennsylvania once again and today we're up here in Schuylkill County and we've got a covered bridge behind us. 

So, I'm starting one of my new series on the different covered bridges here in Pennsylvania and we're going to start here at the Zimmerman covered bridge

So, this idea has been in my head for quite some time to do all the covered bridges here in Pennsylvania. I have filmed some videos on cover bridges already but never turned into like a series. Never made it a concerted effort to get to all of them. There are quite a few left here in Pennsylvania. Some counties have none. Like Lebanon County, which is not too far from here, has no covered bridges. Here in Schuylkill County there's just two. But down in Lancaster County there's a whole ton of them. So it varies from county to county.

Zimmerman Covered Bridge

We'll talk a little bit just why what the purpose of a covered bridge is and then we'll take a look at this one here, the Zimmerman covered bridge. I'll tell you a little bit of history about it oh yeah we're going to talk about the architecture. You know, as I make these videos I learn stuff too because I'm studying all these bridges. They're made different ways, different architecture. Like this one is called a Burr Truss or Burr Arch Truss and we'll go inside.

But let me tell you where I'm at. First, this is Covered Bridge Road appropriately. Just across the bridge is Route 895. We're not too far from the town of Rock. But if you go west it'll take you to Pine Grove. So that's kind of where we are and because we'll walk through the bridge. There's a little trail down below we can get a view of the bridge from down below too.

So what's the purpose? Why have a covered bridge? What's the purpose of that? Why not just have a regular open bridge like they do today these days? 

I want to mention what the purpose of covered bridges is. Obviously the bridge is there to cover like a creek or stream or the body of water. I've heard different reasons why there's sides to them. Sometimes the sides, like these go back you know to the 1800s. The sides were on the bridges so the horses couldn't see over the edge and be scared or something like that. I heard that explained once but the reason they're covered is because they're made of wood, because they have a roof and roofing materials to prevent the wood from getting wet.

Wooden bridges that were uncovered only lasted about 20 years. Obviously because the wood would rot. But, if you put a cover on it, a roof like what's on these covered bridges, they could last 100 years or so. So that's why it's one of the main reasons why they're covered. Same with your house. You know if your house didn't have a roof it wouldn't last that long. But once you have a good solid roof on top of your house it can last you know hundreds of years. So, that's why they're covered. 

Alright, so let's go take a walk through. Because I think at the end of this video we'll actually drive through too. Yeah, so depending on what website you read, I've heard different ages for Zimmerman's covered bridge. 1875 or 1880. I'm gonna go with 1875. That's what I heard the most. See the arch everybody mentioned? The name of that is a Burr Arch Truss. It's called that because a man named Theodore Burr patented that design I think in 1817. And the truss refers to these posts. This is called a king post truss. It's got the one big post and the two angles. That's a king post right there. One up in the two angled ones and it's there's multiple ones of those it's a multiple king post truss and then this is the burr the burr arch. So Burr Arch Truss design is what this is.

This bridge is about 50 feet long too. I think it was redone a bit in 1996. They lifted it off its abutments and kind of did some work on it, refurbished it a bit, and there's looking at it from this way. One of the shorter cover bridges I've seen because the second one here that's in Schuylkill County, which is actually just down the road, maybe several miles, the Rock Covered Bridge that one's even shorter I believe.

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