November 11, 2019: James Crouse has passed along this information from Scott Bomboy, Perkasie Borough Council, announcing the rehabilitation project for South Perkasie Covered Bridge in Bucks County, PA.
Bucks County’s oldest covered bridge is getting a major makeover in the next year, as Perkasie Borough creates the South Perkasie Covered Bridge Outdoor Museum.
The Borough will partner with the Perkasie Historical Society and the Bucks County Covered Bridge Society on the project, providing their expertise as part of educational and interpretive experience critical to the outdoor museum’s success. The project will require long-needed structural repairs to the bridge, which was built in 1832.
The Perkasie Historical Society made national headlines when it moved the South Perkasie covered bridge to Lenape Park in August 1958, after Bucks County officials decided to replace it with a modern structure. Perkasie Borough assumed its ownership in August 1959. Since then, the red bridge has served as the community’s unofficial symbol - and most-photographed location. The bridge is the third-oldest covered bridge in Pennsylvania and the third-oldest Town Lattice covered bridge in the United States.
“The South Perkasie Covered Bridge is a true landmark in the preservation of covered bridges not only in Bucks County, but nationally as well,” said Scott Bomboy, the chairman of Perkasie Borough council’s Historical Committee, which will oversee the project. “Because it has been out of road service since 1958 and easily accessible, the South Perkasie Covered Bridge will make an ideal outdoor museum for people to learn about authentic covered bridges.”
“The Perkasie Historical Society is pleased to work with the Perkasie Borough Council and the Bucks County Covered Bridge Society to complete the rehabilitation project and will continue to aid in the fund-raising efforts for this endeavor. The bridge is an iconic symbol of Perkasie Borough and has appeared in hundreds of wedding and family portraits and has been the site for many other special events,” the Society said in a statement.
A year ago, the Perkasie Historical Society set a goal to raise $20,000 to go toward the cost to repair and stabilize the nearly 188-year-old South Perkasie Covered Bridge. The Society, through a grassroots effort, has already surpassed its initial goal with numerous donations from the community, a $5,000 matching grant, raffles and a “Night at The Perk.” The Society recently announced two new matching fund grants of $5,000 each.
“Historic covered bridges represent an important part of early American civil engineering and remain a significant symbol of our cultural heritage. They played a role in the development of the United States by helping expand transportation routes across the country facilitating both settlement and commercial activity,” said Petrona Charles of the Bucks County Covered Bridge Society. “Covered bridges are a source of inspiration for artists, writers, historians, and engineers, and a tourism destination that adds to the Bucks County economy.”
The interpretative experience will showcase the history of Bucks County’s covered bridges since 1832, and the Perkasie Historical Society’s much-publicized efforts to “save the bridge” in one of the nation’s earliest acts of covered bridge historic preservation. A digital learning experience, including the history of the 51 covered bridges that once existed in Bucks County, will complement the outdoor museum site.
Perkasie Borough will apply for a $100,000 Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission Keystone Historic Preservation Construction Grant matching grant for the project.
“We need to prove to the Historical Commission that people love our bridge and want it preserved to get the grant money. We are confident that local businesses, organizations and citizens are up for the challenge,” Bomboy said.
The Perkasie Historical Society, a 501c3 non-profit, is currently accepting donations to fund its contribution to the covered bridge museum project. For further information about the Perkasie Historical Society, visit its web site at www.perkasiehistory.org or follow it on Facebook at @perkasiehistory.org. The mailing address for contributions is:
Perkasie Historical Society
513 W Walnut St
Perkasie PA 18944-1345
Perkasie Borough also will set up a dedicated fund for major contributions from businesses and organizations willing to sponsor key parts of the project. Interested parties can send inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org to learn about different giving levels.
Scott Bomboy, Perkasie Borough Council
Our thanks to James Crouse and Scott Bomboy, Perkasie Borough Council, for passing this information along.