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The 1878 Pollocks Mill Bridge is the oldest active truss bridge in Greene County. It is a rare example of a Massillon Iron Whipple (double intersection Pratt) truss in which the diagonals pass through the verticals. The portals are comprised of characteristic Massillon Bridge company webbing. The trusses are noteworthy for containing many early details, such as chafing guides for the diagonals and rolled I sections with cover plates riveted to the flanges. The bridge was repaired in 1990, when the floor and floorbeams were replaced.
Utica Mills Covered Bridge has a storied past. In 1889 the disastrous Johnstown Flood washed away a 250 foot, two span covered bridge over the Monocacy River on Devilbiss Road in Frederick County. One span of the bridge was saved, dismantled and two years later reconstructed as a 101′ covered bridge on Utica Road, just off Frederick Road in Utica, Maryland over Fishing Creek. The original bridge is usually referred to as Devilbiss Road Covered Bridge. Most documentation shows the original bridge as constructed c1850, but many believe it was actually built in 1843. Although the bridge was moved from its location over the Monocacy, it still consists of original timber from the Devilbiss Bridge, so it retained its build date as 1843 and was renamed Utica Mills Covered Bridge.
In 1934 Utica Mills’ flooring was reinforced with steel beams and a center pier was added for additional support. However, gradual corrosion of the steel beams reduced the load capacity to only two tons. The rafters of the Utica Mills Covered Bridge were replaced in 1970. In 1993 an oversized truck cracked a support beam. Residents initially feared it was the act of an extortionist who had threatened to burn the bridge if the community persisted in fighting a public project he favored. After the 1993 accident it was discovered that termites and post beetles had caused much of the bridge’s timber to rot.
In December 1996 a rehabilitation project for Utica Mills Covered Bridge began at a cost of $337,000. The project was under the general contractor guidance of bridge builders Arnold M. Graton Associates of Ashland, New Hampshire. Rehabilitation included replacing the steel beams thereby increasing the load limit to fifteen tons. Much of the tedious repair labor was done manually using hand tools. Utica Mills was the last of the six remaining Frederick County covered bridges to be rehabilitated in the mid ninties. It reopened in the spring of 1997.
On June 15, 2006 Utica Mills Covered Bridge was again damaged by a truck. A roof beam, braces and siding on the west end of the portal were destroyed when the truck tried to back out of the bridge. Repair costs were $15,000. The bridge was closed for three weeks until repairs could be made. Today, Utica Mills Covered Bridge is well maintained. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on June 23, 1978.
Today, a couple friends and I took a road trip to western Maryland to a colleague’s family farm and pumpkin patch! We saw lots of pumpkins, gourds and squash. We also went on a hay ride and saw calves, pigs and goats! Expect more photos. :) If you can’t wait to see them here, check out my Brookfield Pumpkins set on Flickr!