Historic Bridges of Chester County's Lower Brandywine Creek watershed

Sites and historical information about the early covered and stone bridges that once spanned the Brandywine Creek and it's watershed.

Historic Bridges of Chester County's Lower Brandywine Creek watershed

Wilmington, Delaware 19803, United States

Created By: Sarah Mims

Tour Information

In the 19th century transportation was advancing and the building of wooden covered bridges was replacing the earlier fords along the Brandywine Creek. The earliest bridges were made from local materials by local craftsmen. Wooden timbers, roofing, and siding materials were typically made from oak, chestnut, pine, or poplar which were all readily available at that time. Stone for the foundations was many times quarried from hillsides along the streams where the new bridges would be built. As time advanced and industries changed, so did the technologies used in bridge building. The aging wooden structures were replaced by more modern designs and former villages sometimes faded from prominence. As transportation technology advanced the faster, heavier weight vehicles quickly began to degrade the early covered bridges requiring their eventual replacement. As we look back at the former sites of important bridges of the past, we can still appreciate the beauty of the Brandywine Valley our ancestors called their home.

Tour Map

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What You'll See on the Tour

 Isaac Smith operated a flour mill, saw mill, and cider press near the Brandywine just south of the Pennsylvania and Delaware border. Isaac's son Edward Smith took over the mill after the death of his father. In 1839 a single lane covered ... Read more
Pyle's Ford was located about two miles south of Chadd's Ford where today's Route 100 crosses the Brandywine Creek. It was named for the Pyle family who were large land owners on the Pennsbury Township side of the creek. The ford was the ro... Read more
  Chads' Ford was named for John Chads who ran a small ferry business in the early 18th century here along the Brandywine Creek. The restored Chads house still stands along Creek Road and is a living history museum run by the Chadds Ford H... Read more
Brinton's Ford was located one mile north of Chadds Ford and saw action as a point of defense by the Continental Army in the Battle of Brandywine on September 11, 1777. Brinton's Bridge, a covered wooden structure one hundred and forty-five... Read more
Located at the bottom of the hill the Pocopson Creek Bridge spanned the creek of the same name. Built around 1872 by brothers Menander (carpenter) and Ferdinand Wood (mason) it was likely a King Post type bridge with a relatively short span... Read more
Jones' Ford was located about two miles north of Brinton's Ford and was a crossing that was guarded by Continental troops on September 11, 1777. Built in 1857 at the site of the earlier Jones' Ford, Painter's Bridge spanned the Brandywine ... Read more
The area below the confluence of the east and west branches of the Brandywine Creek was referred to as Shunk's Ford at the time of the American Revolution. The location was guarded by Continental troops on September 11, 1777. Many years aft... Read more
The area to the left, Buffington's Ford was an early 18th century crossing point on the east branch of the Brandywine Creek within Bradford Township. The ford was named for the Buffington family who owned  land in the area. On September 1... Read more
Jefferis Ford was named after the Jefferis family who owned the farm to the west of the creek in the 18th century. The ford would become famous on September 11, 1777 as 8,000 British soldiers under the command of Sir William Howe and Lord C... Read more
The second covered bridge in what would become Pocopson Township was built in 1834 across the west branch of the Brandywine Creek in conjunction with a road building project that would connect West Chester, PA to the Maryland state line nea... Read more
The first covered bridge in Chester County spanned the west branch of the Brandywine Creek in present day Northbrook. In 1807 when the bridge was constructed this area was part of West Bradford Township. Marshall's Bridge, as it would be ca... Read more
One and a half miles upstream from Northbrook there was once a railroad station was named Halls. The surrounding area was owned by the Hall family who were extensive landowners and well known farmers in that locality. Ezra Hall owned the pr... Read more
To the south side of Route 162 Corcoran’s Bridge spans the western branch of the Brandywine Creek about 1/2 mile downstream from the village of Embreeville. The 144 foot stone arch bridge was constructed by the Corcoran Construction Compa... Read more
The village of Embreeville was named for the Embree family that lived in Newlin Township at that location for several previous generations. To support the small mill village a covered bridge was built over the western branch of the Bran... Read more
Below the confluence of  Buck and Doe Run in East Fallowfield Township, the united stream, known as the Buck and Doe Run, flows for about 3 miles before it enters the west branch of the Brandywine Creek. Laurel Bridge was the only bridge o... Read more
The first bridges at what would become Mortonville were likely built about 1772 when Strasburg Road was surveyed and constructed. A wooden bridge over the Brandywine was built in 1789. About 1800 a single stone arch bridge was constructed t... Read more
The Morton family purchased 312 acres of land around the future village in 1840. Mortonville village was laid out out by Crosby Morton and he became the first post master in 1852. One quarter mile south of Strasburg Road at Mortonville a co... Read more
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 Jonath... Read more
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 T... Read more


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