Old Stone Arch Bridge - Lewistown, Pennsylvania

  


With its original construction dating back to 1813, Lewistown, Pennsylvania's Old Stone Arch Bridge is certainly one of the oldest existing stone arch bridges in the United States. The bridge is considered to be the oldest single span stone arch bridge in central Pennsylvania, although Pennsylvania does have its fair share of stone arch bridges in the eastern and southern sections of the commonwealth. Built by Philip Diehl over Jacks Creek as part of the historic Harrisburg and Pittsburgh Turnpike, this bridge is one of the remaining pieces of the old turnpike, most of which has either been paved over or lost to time. As the old turnpike and the stone arch bridge follow close to US 22 in Lewistown, it is likely that parts of the old turnpike is now on roads that thousands of people drive daily.

One interesting feature of the Old Stone Arch Bridge is that the arch does not have a keystone. The bridge has lived a rather quiet existence over the past few centuries, but the bridge was brought a small amount of renown when it was featured in a lithograph by Currier and Ives in 1850. The bridge had repair work in 1930 and 1957, and was fully restored in 2006.

Regarding the restoration that took place in 2006, the ball started rolling on that a few years prior. In 2002, Mifflin County was awarded in 2002 a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to make structural repairs to the Old Stone Arch Bridge. Final plans for the bridge were completed and approved in 2004 and project construction began in June 2005.

The work on this historic bridge included repairing the concrete walls and stone arch, reinforcing the concrete substructure within the bridge's walls, installing an interior drainage system and constructing a walkway from Jacks Creek to the bridge. The total final cost of the project was about $460,000. Work on the stone arch bridge was completed in November 2005 while landscaping, bank stabilization, and walkway improvements along Grant Avenue were completed in May 2006.

Today, there is a small park around the Old Stone Arch Bridge, allowing for passive recreation and appreciation of the bridge. One can peacefully enjoy the bridge from a reasonable distance, or get up closer to the bridge as I have done. As a fan of stone arch bridges, I had to make the detour to see the Old Stone Arch Bridge when my travels took me through Lewistown. Even with battling a little rain and hearing thunder in the not-so-far distance, it was worth visiting.


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Sources and Links:
Waymarking.com - Stone Arch Bridge - Lewistown, PA
Interesting Pennsylvania and Beyond - Lewistown's Old Stone Arch Bridge Park: Quaint 200+ Year Old Bridge
Bridgehunter.com - Old Arch Bridge
Scenic USA - Pennsylvania - Old Stone Arch Bridge
Mifflin County, Pennsylvania - Historic Preservation


Update Log:
September 25, 2021 - Crossposted to Gribblenation / https://www.gribblenation.org/2021/09/old-stone-arch-bridge-lewistown.html

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