Hayes Clark Bridge and Mary Ann Pyle Bridge

Historic Bridges of Chester County's Lower Brandywine Creek watershed

Hayes Clark Bridge and Mary Ann Pyle Bridge

Created By: Sarah Mims

Point of Interest Details

Often referrered to as the twin bridges the Hayes Clark and Mary Ann Pyle Bridges endure as covered bridges over the Buck and Doe Runs in the Laurels Preserve. Hayes Clark owned 208 acres in East Fallowfield Township and West Marlborough Township in the 19th century. The Doe Run ran through his property and the County had a wooden bridge built over the stream in the early 1880's. Mr. Clark had advised that the bridge was built in a poor location seceptable to flooding. Within a short period of time the new bridge would be lost to the current. The bridge was quickly rebuilt only to once again be swept away by a flood in 1884. The next time the bridge was to be rebuilt the contractors took the advice of Hayes Clark and it was built in a more suitable location some distance downstream. By late 1884 the County built the Hayes Clark Bridge, a Burr arch type with a 75 foot span with a 16 foot roadway. Menander Wood did the woodwork and a quarry was opened on the hillside near the site to acquire the materials for the stone foundation. The new bridge would have unique wing walls with stones set in a vertical position as the coping. Typical bridges of the time used wooden coping on wing walls which required more frequent replacement. The bridge was in use into the mid 20th century. By the 1960's the roadway running through the bridge had been abandoned and the bridge was privately owned by the Buck and Doe Run Valley Farms. In 1963 the bridge was burned by arsonists. In 1971 a new Hayes Clark Bridge, this time a Kingpost type, was rebuilt at the site by the Buck and Doe Run Valley Farms. Two skilled workmen used local lumber in it's construction. In the late 19th century James Pyle owned large acreage in the Buck Run Valley. Two bridges were constructed at a site over the Buck Run on the Pyle's property, which were both destroyed by floods. In 1881 the County had a replacement wooden bridge built over the stream on the Pyle's property. The bridge would be named Mary Ann Pyle after Mr. Pyle's daughter. The Mary Ann Pyle Bridge was built about a-quarter mile from the Hayes Clark Bridge and they were often referred to as "twin bridges" since they had similar dimensions and detailing. Menander Wood did the wood work on the bridge and his brother Ferdinand Wood did the stone work. The copings on the wing walls were similar in detail to that of the Hayes Clark Bridge. In the mid twentieth century the bridge was owned by the Buck and Doe Run Valley Farms and the cattle of the King Ranch would graze on the land nearby. The bridges are now part of the 771 acre Laurels Preserve managed by the Brandywine Conservancy and are open to it's membership on a walking trail.

This point of interest is part of the tour: Historic Bridges of Chester County's Lower Brandywine Creek watershed


 

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