Documenting North America's past & present covered bridges


McCall's Ferry, Lancaster County

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Inventory Number: PA/38-36-132x / PA-67-47x
County: Lancaster County / York County
Township: Martic - Lower Chanceford
Town/Village: McCall's Ferry
Bridge Name: McCall's Ferry
Crosses: Susquehanna River
Truss type: Burr
Spans: 2
Length: c570'
Roadway Width: 32'
Built: 1815
Builder: Theodore Burr
When Lost: 03 Mar 1818
Cause: Ice
Latitude: N39 50.62
Longitude: W076 20.98
See a map of the area
Topographic map of the area
Directions: ½ mile west of Holtwood.

McCall's Ferry Bridge, Martic-Lower Chanceford, PA Built 1815 Ice 3 Mar 1818
Thomas G. Kipphorn Collection
Two lanes. It had two spans of unequal length. The span that stretched from the Martic Township, Lancaster County abutment to the pier was the longest single wooden covered span ever built. It was a 360'4" long Double Burr Arch Truss with a bottom chord length of 376'0". The other span was anywhere from 160' to 190' depending on the source. As Burr built it himself, it likely was also a Double Burr Arch Truss, as he was obviously showing off the versatility of his truss design. The pier spread to 55' wide at the base and the abutments spread to 66'. The other end of the bridge connected to Lower Chanceford Township, York County. The approaching roads, no matter where they were located, likely connected to Street (T617 & T397), or Pinnacle (T399) Roads on the Lancaster side and McCalls Ferry (T657) or River (T794) Roads on the York side. It should be noted that Street Road was a major route to Philadelphia at the time. On Tuesday, March 3, 1818, the entire bridge was swept away by an ice jam. Nothing was ever built to replace it and the site is now submerged under the backwaters from the Holtwood Dam.
Moll, Fred J.. Pennsylvania's Covered Bridges - Our Heritage, 2004, pages 110-111
Kipphorn, Thomas. Information received by email, September 2005
Knapp, Ronald G. & Miller, Terry. Theodore Burr and the Bridging of Early America, 2023, Pages 334-345

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