Bogert’s Covered Bridge, named after local land owner Peter Bogert, was built in 1841 and spans the Little Lehigh Creek. It initially carried pedestrians, equestrians, and horse-drawn carriages over the creek and, later, automobiles until it was severely damaged in the 1950s and almost demolished. It has been through one major restoration and is currently in need of another, for which fund-raising efforts continue. The bridge is now part of the Lehigh Parkway, a 476-acre park that stretches along the Little Lehigh and it continues to provide pedestrians and bicyclists a shaded crossing of the creek. It is now the oldest covered bridge in Lehigh County and among the oldest in the country. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.
Back in the 1730s,
Abraham Kirper acquired a tract of land around the Little Lehigh Creek. He then built a dwelling on that land in 1741
that still stands and is known as Hunter’s Cabin. Kirper then sold the cabin and land to Peter
Bogert in 1744. Bogert and others then
built a stone ford at the location of the current covered bridge. However, the local Lenape natives complained
that the ford blocked canoe access along the creek. Accounts of the time claim that Bogert
negotiated a peaceful settlement between the natives and settlers regarding the
ford on his land, achieving the title of “peacemaker” among the natives.
century later, it was decided that a bridge was needed and the designers,
whoever they were, decided upon a covered Burr truss bridge with vertical plank
siding and a gable roof. Named after
bridge designer/builder, Theodore Burr, a Burr truss bridge features two arch
trusses which run the length of each side of the bridge and rest on abutments
at each end. Bogert’s Bridge was no different.
Completed in 1841, the 145-foot bridge was primarily used by farmers and
iron companies transporting crops and supplies to and from the nearby canals. Within a generation, those crops and supplies
would be going to and from railroad depots rather than canal depots.
covered bridges fell out of fashion for pragmatic reasons. Their roofs prevented street car lines from
running across them with the advent of electricity and their wooden
construction simply could not hold the weight of street cars, railroad engines
and, later, heavy trucks. However, Bogert’s
Covered Bridge continued its primary function until a set of truck accidents in
the mid-20th century placed its continued existence in doubt. Rather than repair it, the county discussed
its destruction until it was reprieved by the Save the Bogert’s Bridge
Committee in 1957.
that saved the bridge was to build a new, modern bridge over the creek a few
hundred feet to the west and then re-route N. 24th Street/Oxford
Drive over the new bridge in 1964. Today,
a paved path, known as Fish Hatchery Road, leads to the bridge and is used by
thousands of walkers, joggers, and cyclists every year. Despite being awarded a Keystone Historic Grant
in June of 2018, the bridge is still in need of an estimated $1.5 million in
renovations and fund-raising efforts are ongoing.