BENTON TWP. — A ceremony on Nov. 15 celebrated the grand re-opening of Baylor’s Bridge, which had been closed since April 2015. After working on it for five seasons, the PennDOT maintenance crew has completely restored this historic construction over Baylor’s Lake to its former glory.
“We salvaged all the stones from the original bridge,” said Paul Menendez, assistant county maintenance manager of PennDOT. “We took all the stonewalls down, and we built them all back with the original stones. The purpose of maintaining the historical significance is to maintain the integrity of structure.”
The original phase of this project was to shore up he bridge so it wouldn’t collapse. Then, the maintenance crew poured scour walls down the barrel of the culvert. They dismantled the bridge one season and rebuilt it the next.
The idea of preserving this bridge came from the Baylor’s Lake Association Bridge Committee. When president Neal Brennan learned the bridge was scheduled to be torn down, he called people in town, asking to save the bridge because of its historical significance. According to the committee, Baylor’s Bridge is eligible to be on the National Register of Historical Places.
“Our Baylor’s Lake Association is going to work with the Lackawanna Historical Society in getting this on the National Register,” said Joyce Hatala, vice president of the bridge committee. “It (Baylor’s Bridge) dates from probably the early 1800s, and it’s a dry-stone, dry-laid, masonry bridge, which means there’s no mortar. It shows a log of structural integrity, which means a lot of it is original.”
Hatala said the bridge’s stone-arch style is similar to that of bridges from the late 1700s to early 1800s. She said the bridge can be traced back to when Baylor’s Lake was known as Finn Pond.
“The bridge was used for transportation,” said Hatala. “There were tanneries here, and there were grist mills, and there were lumber mills.”
Hatala said the bridge is most likely one of the oldest bridges in District 4.
State Representative Karen Boback, Senator John Blake and James May, regional press director for PennDOT, along with members of the PennDOT maintenance crew, attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
“I just want to congratulate everyone, particularly the lake association for their perseverance in making it happen,” Boback said before cutting ribbon. “What a beautiful, beautiful bridge, and it’s also historical. So the next step, what we have to do is get it on that Register.”
Baylor’s Lake resident Sharon McCrone commented during the ceremony.
“I think it’s such a credit to everyone that such collaboration happened,” she said. “We have PennDOT. We have the Baylor’s Lake Association. We have Benton Township. And everyone really collaborated and stuck to it. And that is what really helps all communities when different sectors communicate and have a same goal in mind.”
Reach the Abington Journal newsroom at 570-991-6405 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.