Built in 1873 in Mahaffey, Pennsylvania, the McGees Mills Covered Bridge is the last remaining covered bridge that crosses the West Branch of the Susquehanna River. It is also the only remaining covered bridge in Clearfield County and one of a handful along the US 219 corridor in any state the highway goes through. The McGees Mills Covered Bridge was built by Thomas A. McGee, who received an appropriation of $1,500 from the Clearfield County Commissioners to construct a replacement for a bridge spanning the West Branch of the Susquehanna River that was destroyed by a flood during the winter of 1872-1873. The 116 foot long single span Burr arch truss bridge has been protected for generations by its gabled roof, with $175 worth in local hand hewed white pine timbers having been used in its construction.
Under the bridge, thousands of river rafts loaded with timber floated the West Branch of the Susquehanna River, with the last load passing under the bridge in 1938. These rafts of timber helped build a nation, and the covered bridge bore witness to this. Major repairs were made to the McGees Mills Covered Bridge following a collapse of the historical structure on March 14, 1994. The tremendous weight of heavy snow and ice during the winter of 1993-94 caused the bridge to collapse. The bridge has been extensively reinforced with heavy steel mending plates at the joints of the Burr arches, and angle irons and mending plates on the other wooden timbers, and a five foot high wall of laminated two by twelve inch planks banded together with steel plates that run the entire length of the bridge. This was one of the most extensive reinforced bridges in all of Pennsylvania. In 2020, the Clearfield County Commissioners awarded a bid to repair the roof on the McGees Mills Covered Bridge to 768-Roof of Clearfield, Pennsylvania for $119,140, plus an additional $8,800 if masonry repointing is needed.
Today, you can passively enjoy the covered bridge in a number of ways. There is a small pullout to park so you can explore the bridge. There is also a picnic area next to the bridge so you can enjoy views of the covered bridge as well. The McGees Mills Covered Bridge is found right off of US 219 on Covered Bridge Road in Mahaffey, so if you are in the area, it is a quick detour off of the main road and a beautiful setting to spend some time in.
How to Get There:
Sources and Links:
Clearfield County - McGees Covered Bridge
Bridgehunter.com - McGee's Mills Covered Bridge 38-17-01
Pennsylvania Covered Bridges - McGee's Mill Covered Bridge
The Progress - Commissioners approve repairs to two historic bridges (May 12, 2020)
May 12, 2021 - Crossposted to Quintessential Pennsylvania: http://quintessentialpa.blogspot.com/2021/05/mcgees-mills-covered-bridge.html