Skip to main content

Foxcatcher Farms Covered Bridge - Maryland

 


Originally known as Strahorn's Mill Covered Bridge, the Foxcatcher Farms Covered Bridge on Tawes Drive near Elkton, Maryland is one of just two historic covered bridges that remain in Cecil County, Maryland. The 65 foot long covered bridge spans over Big Elk Creek at the Fair Hill Natural Resources Management Area and was built in 1860 with a multiple Kingpost through truss design. The original contract that was awarded for bridge construction called for the bridge to be built of the "Old Burr Plan". The bridge was built by a local bridge builder by the name of Ferdinand Wood at the cost of $1,165 near the location of Strahorn's Mill, which was a nail factory, grist mill, turning mill and a tan bark yard during various stages of its history.

The Foxcatcher Farms Covered Bridge stood tall through floods in Cecil County during the years of 1884, 1887 and 1898, while many other bridges in the area were lost, including iron bridges. In 1927, William duPont, Jr. bought a vast amount of land in the northeast corner of Maryland including the area where the covered bridge existed. Mr. duPont raised cattle, raced horses, and hunted fox on his property, hence the bridge and property became known as Foxcatcher Farms. Because the bridge was on private property, it then became inaccessible to most covered bridge enthusiasts. However, this is what ultimately may have allowed the covered bridge to remain. The bridge was damaged in 1938 by a truck crossing the bridge with a load of silo boards which extended beyond the truck bed. There was also an incident in 1950 when a concrete truck crossing the bridge broke through the deck on the southeast end and went into the creek. In both cases the covered bridge was repaired.

The State of Maryland bought the duPont Estates property in 1975 and later established the former duPont property as the Fair Hill Natural Resources Management Area. Today, the area provides recreation opportunities for equestrian riders, fishing, hunting and birding. There are also fairgrounds, a race track and it was a training center for 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro. This change in hands for the property also meant that the Foxcatcher Farms Covered Bridge became accessible to the general public once again.

The wear and tear of age took its normal toll on the Foxcatchers Farm Covered Bridge. In late 1991, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources contracted with Erik Straub of Cambridge, Maryland to reconstruct the bridge. The bridge was closed March 1992, with underpinning and supports for the roof on steel girders and timber false work. New trusses were constructed, along with a deck support system, putting the covered bridge in a new condition under the old roof. Some of the old Kingpost splices and original Burr Arch chord timbers were saved, which were reused on the bridge's interior giving it an antique authentic look. As a result, this saved the covered bridge's aesthetic and historic appearance. The covered bridge reconstruction costs totaled about $152,000, and it is estimated that 60% of the structural members of the bridge were replaced. 

The bridge was reopened in September of 1992, but the siding was not installed until later that fall. Hurricane Floyd damaged its lower sideboards in 1999, but the bridge was quickly repaired. Foxcatcher Farms Covered Bridge is now open only for horseback riding, bicyclists, and hikers, so there is no more worry about trucks damaging the bridge. However, there is a nearby parking lot for those who want to see the bridge. When I visited the covered bridge, there were a couple of photographers around the bridge, waiting to get their perfect shots in the late February snow.








How to Get There:



Sources and Links:
Alps' Roads - Foxcatcher Farms Covered Bridge
Covered Bridges Photos - Foxcatcher Farm - 1860
Bridgehunter.com - Foxcatcher Farm Covered Bridge 20-07-02
Maryland Department of Natural Resources - Foxcatcher Farm Covered Bridge
Maryland Covered Bridges - Foxcatcher Farms / Hill's Fording / Strahorn's Mill Covered Bridge

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Legend of the Ridge Route; a history of crossing the mountains between the Los Angeles Basin and San Joaquin Valley from wagon trails to Interstates

Over the past two decades I've crossed the Interstate 5 corridor from Los Angeles north over the Sierra Pelona Mountains and Tehachapi Range to San Joaquin Valley what seems to be an immeasurable number of times.  While Interstate 5 from Castaic Junction to Grapevine via Tejon Pass today is known to most as "The Grapevine" it occupies a corridor which has been traversed by numerous historic highways.  The most notable of these highways is known as the "Ridge Route."  This article is dedicated to the Ridge Route and the various highways that preceded it.  This blog is part of the larger Gribblenation US Route 99 Page.  For more information pertaining to the other various segments of US Route 99 and it's three-digit child routes check out the link the below. Gribblenation US Route 99 Page Ridge Route corridor introdution The Ridge Route as originally envisioned was a segment of highway which was completed in 1915 between the northern Los Angeles city limit

Establishing the numbering conventions of California's chargeable Interstates

The Federal Highway Aid Act of 1956 brought the Interstate Highway System into existence which would largely be constructed by Federal Highway Administration fund matching.  The Interstate Highway System was deliberately numbered to run opposite the established conventions of the US Route System.  While the Interstate Highway numbering conventions are now well established there was a period during the late 1950s where they were still being finalized.  This blog examines the history of the establishing of the chargeable Interstate Highway route numbers in California.  The above blog cover depicts the Interstate Highway route numbers requested by the Division of Highways in the Los Angeles area during November 1957.  The establishment of the numbering conventions of California's chargeable Interstates The Interstate Highway System was not created in a vacuum by way of the passage of the 1956 Federal Highway Aid Act.  The beginning of the Interstate Highway System can be found in the

California State Route 210 (legacy of California State Route 30)

  California State Route 210 is a forty-mile-long limited access State Highway located in Los Angeles County and San Bernardino County.  California State Route 210 exists as a non-Interstate continuation of Interstate 210 and the Foothill Freeway between California State Route 57 in San Dimas east to Interstate 10 Redlands.  California State Route 210 was previously designated as California State Route 30 until the passage of 1998 Assembly Bill 2388, Chapter 221.  Since 2009 the entirety of what was California State Route 30 has been signed as California State Route 210 upon the completion of the Foothill Freeway extension.  Below westbound California State Route 210 can be seen crossing the Santa Ana River as the blog cover.  California State Route 30 can be seen for the last time on the 2005 Caltrans Map below.  Part 1; the evolution of California State Route 30 into California State Route 210 What was to become California State Route 30 (CA 30) entered the State Highway System duri