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Tyson's Bridge


She is the baby of the family but she has long since given up her childish ways.  She was born into a household that had six older children; each one in her own way serving a vital need for the residents of the community.

Over the years since her birth, some of her older sisters have faced many trials and some have had to endure major revamping, but fortunately all of them remain firmly in place and each one is still fully employed.  Moreover, we are told by credible sources that they all are joining in this birthday celebration of their youngest sister.  This “baby of the family” is celebrating her one hundredth year of service to our community!

That remarkable century old child is better known to Township residents as Tysons Bridge.  Built in 1905, it was the last of the seven bridges built by the East and West Vincent Townships reaching out over the ever challenging waters of the French Creek; seven bridges built over a span of eighty years between 1835 and 1905.  All have required constant help from the “bridge doctors” to keep fit and trim and a few have had to undergo major surgery and retooling to stay in place, but the entire family remains together, still on the job of quietly allowing whomever or whatever approaches them to safely journey to the other side.

Tysons Bridge is located in the far western stretches of the township.  Its name comes from Tyson’s Mill that used to be located in that area.  The structure itself was one of the many projects of the well-known Denithorne bridge builders from Phoenixville.  They were also responsible for giving life to two other members of the family, the Sheeder Mill Bridge and the original structure crossing at Cooks Glenn.

This century old bridge can be located by traveling southward from the Pughtown Road onto the narrow Bertolet School Road and somewhat ignoring the posted warnings that there is no outlet at the end of this winding passageway.  The bridge itself allows for only one car to comfortably travel across at a time, which is no major deterrent since the amount of traffic is quite small, given the “No Outlet” warning signs. 

In the days of its youth, multitudes of people crossed this bridge going to and coming from Pughtown.  It used to extend all the way to where Route 100 is located today.  But as automobiles began to replace the horse and buggy this “shortcut” became less needed and the traffic that it was asked to handle began to dwindle.  Eventually, so few cars attempted to use this pathway that the unpaved road on the West Vincent side, which now only leads to a few homes, was closed.  In spite of that decision, Tysons Bridge remains alive and well and ready for all visitors to come and help her celebrate her one hundredth year of faithful service.

The bridge contains a high super structure of iron lattice work and interlocking braces, all helping to support the roadbed that stretches forward for 90 feet.  The roadbed itself is built upon several wooden planks that have been placed from side to side and then covered with pavement for protection.  A distinctive feature of this bridge can be found in the artistic work of George W. Stine who provided the attractive stone walls that grace the approaches on both ends.  They certainly add a special quality to this picturesque setting which brings back those early active days when our “turn of the century bridge” was bustling with busy travelers, hurrying to and fro across its well fortified beams and planks, leading them on to many choice destinations.

 By:  Dr. Robert Price
 Historical Commission