10 September 2019

Dedication ceremony held for unveiling of new White Covered Bridge plaque

Greene County Commissioners join other state and local officials on Sept. 5 in celebrating the official unveiling of a new plaque at the White Covered Bridge commemorating the bridge's listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
GREENE TOWNSHIP, PA – Greene County Commissioners joined other officials recently in celebrating the official unveiling of a new plaque at the White Covered Bridge in Greene Township commemorating the bridge’s listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
The dedication ceremony, held at the front of historic bridge on Sept. 5, featured remarks by Commissioners Blair Zimmerman, Dave Coder and Archie Trader, and also by state Rep. Pam Snyder, a representative for state Sen. Camera Bartolotta. Also in attendance were Greene Township Supervisors and members of the White Covered Bridge Association Board of Directors.
Zimmerman commended the Association and all involved for their diligence in securing the plaque’s installation.
“There is a great deal of wonderful local history at this bridge, with festivals and weddings being held here, with generations of families crossing it and using it,” he said. “This is a big part of Greene County’s heritage, and it’s an honor to be here today for this special ceremony.”
Commissioner Dave Coder added that as Greene County looks ahead to the future, it is essential to remember its past.
“We are honored to call this historic landmark an important part of Greene County’s rich heritage and history, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to see this bridge listed on the National Register of Historic Places,” he said.
“We thank everyone and anyone who had a hand in the plaque being placed here,” Trader said. “This is a great honor today for the White Covered Bridge and for the Association members who work very hard in keeping this landmark’s history intact.”
The White Covered Bridge – which spans Whiteley Creek – was listed on the registry on June 22, 1979. Earlier this year, Greene Township Secretary Judith Hamlin, received correspondence from the William G. Pomeroy Foundation inviting the township to apply for a grant to purchase this commemorative plaque.
Through Hamlin’s efforts, the township subsequently received $1,100 from the foundation for the sign.
Pat Walko, Executive Director of the White Covered Bridge Association, said during the ceremony that the mission of the William G. Pomeroy Foundation is two-fold. 
“They are committed to supporting the celebration and preservation of community history, and also to raising awareness, supporting research and improving the quality of care for patients and Establishing the Pomeroy Foundation,” she explained.
Walko also said that the plaque’s unveiling comes at a perfect time, as the Association is preparing for the annual White Covered Bridge Festival, which is annual held during the third weekend in September.
This year’s event will be held Sept. 21 and 22, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. The festival is free to the public and features handmade crafts, displays, horse drawn wagon rides, Civil War re-enactments, live gospel music, food prepared by local churches and fire departments, and much more.
Walko also shared some interesting history regarding the bridge, festival and Association: 
After several years of non-participation in the Annual Covered Bridge Festival, a group of residents from the Garards Fort area resumed the celebration at the White Covered Bridge in 1997. 
Cheryl and Richard Clark were a part of this group; in 2000, Cheryl took over planning and leadership of this event. In 2010, The White Covered Bridge Association was formed as a registered non-profit organization and Cheryl was named Executive Director.
In 2001, the festival was canceled due to the attacks of 9/11.
In 2004, Hurricane Ivan blew through on a Friday night and flooded the festival grounds, forcing the cancellation of the festival that year.
In 2008, the bridge was rebuilt by the county.
In 2018, rain from Hurricane Gordon caused the festival to once again be flooded out. 
Walko also provided background on the origins of the bridge, which is the longest of the queenpost structures located within Greene County. 
She said there is a discrepancy concerning the date of this bridge’s construction. 
“With the exception of the 1990 state survey, which determined that the bridge was built in 1900, all other sources suggest that the White Bridge was constructed around 1919,” she explained. “Charles Morris, born in 1911, grew up near this area. He remembers the White Bridge being built when he was a young boy and that prior to the building of the bridge there was a foot log across the creek just west of where the bridge now stands.” 
In addition to being the longest covered bridge in Greene County, White Bridge is also an exceptionally high queenpost structure, boasting a clearance of 17 feet, 6 inches. 
With no evidence of steel reinforcement, the bridge boasts an exceptionally high load limit of ten-ton. It is covered with white vertical tongue-and-groove board siding on both, the sides and the portals, a steel metal roof and a decking of lengthwise vertical planking in the tire track area laid over diagonal crosswise planking. 
The structure rests on cut stone-and-mortar wingwalls, and there are typical narrow lengthwise openings under the eaves.