Created By: Sarah Mims
Speakman's Bridge #1 connects West Marlborough Township to East Fallowfield Township at the Buck Run. The site of the bridge lies along a hillside where the Truman family operated a paper mill from 1844 until 1870. After this period Jonathan Speakman converted the former paper mill into a grist mill. A covered bridge was constructed in 1881 by brothers Menader and Ferdinand Wood. It was a Burr arch structure with a 75 foot span and a roadway width of 14 feet. On January 5, 1959 Speakman's Bridge was set fire but by quick work of the Buck and Doe Run Valley Farms Patrol and the Modena Fire Company the bridge was saved from serious damage. Over the following decades the strength of the beams had weakened and two support piers were added in the creek below the bridge reducing the distance of the spans. The bridge remained open to traffic until November of 2011 when a heavy truck loaded with steel bound for Coatesville attempted to cross the bridge, severely damaging the structure. In 2016 PennDOT re-built the historic bridge to specifications close to that of the original structure. Just about one mile upstream was another covered bridge that spanned the Buck Run at the Rokeby Paper Mill which replaced the earlier Federal Slitting Mill at Rokeby Hollow. The 19th century wooden Rokeby Bridge was replaced in 1874 by an iron bridge and was replaced again in 1926 by an open deck steel and concrete bridge carrying traffic on Route 82 over the Buck Run. Continue through Speakman's Bridge and turn left onto duPont Road.
This point of interest is part of the tour: Historic Bridges of Chester County's Lower Brandywine Creek watershed