Watercolor… Perkasie, Bucks County. What is known today as the South Perkasie Covered Bridge, was constructed with County money in 1832, extending Benjamin’s Road across Pleasant Spring Creek. It is the second bridge built across this creek and the given name, “South Perkasie” wasn’t in use until the village of Bridgetown (Benjamin) was incorporated, around 1900 into the Perkasie Borough. Over time, this one lane bridge became a choke point for ever increasing local traffic and citizens in and around Perkasie wanted the bridge replaced. It was dutifully condemned in the early 1950’s and a modern, poured concrete slab was proposed to succeed it. The bridge, being the oldest covered bridge in Bucks County and third oldest in Pennsylvania, spurred a wider, grass roots preservation movement to save it. And ironically, in 1958, this 93-foot-long, Town Trussit bridge was lifted off its old (now South Main Street) abutments, and over 8 days… around a tight corner and up Walnut Street, moved 1 mile into Perkasie’s Lake Lenape Park. The bridge became a celebrated landmark sitting on new, but lower, abutments spanning dry land. On September 1, 2021, remnants of Hurricane Ida flooded the nearby Perkiomen Branch Creek, with fast water reaching 18 inches above the deck, collapsing those abutments and sweeping the bridge 15 feet downstream. The trusswork remained intact and effort is underway to rebuild the abutments, reset and reskin the structure.
This painting roughly illustrates where the bridge stood on it’s original site, prior to the 1958 move. The surrounding area here, still looks much the same as it did in the fifties. Following several changes of ownership, the old Savacool Feed Mill on Walnut Street, remains in business, hay fields are now homes and lawns, the grade of South Main Street is now elevated, and the new concrete bridge is wide and flat.