Gilpin’s Falls Covered Bridge
January 12, 2021
Location: Rt 272 RT 272, 1.4 miles off I-95 at exit 100a, Northeast, MD 21901
Gilpin’s Falls Covered Bridge Built in 1860
Gilpin’s Falls Covered Bridge in Cecil County was built in 1860 by Joseph Johnson at a cost of $2,000. Foxcatcher Farms Covered Bridge and Gilpin’s Falls are the only two remaining covered bridges in Cecil County. Located one mile north of Bay View, Gilpin’s Falls Bridge is a 119-foot, single span bridge and the longest covered bridge still standing in the State of Maryland. The clear span length of the bridge is 100 feet. Several mills including Samuel Gilpin’s flour mill were once located near the bridge.
Gilpin’s Falls About 1900A notice to “Bridge Builders and Contractors” appeared in the Cecil Whig on September 8, 1860 requesting bids for building a bridge in the 5th District, over Northeast Creek at Gilpin’s Falls, built on the “Burr” plan. Specifications called for the bridge to “span 100 feet; width from out to out 17 feet; 14 feet from string pieces to square; to have double ribbed segments, double arch, and double string pieces.” (Click here to see the detailed specifications for building Gilpin’s Falls Bridge.) The Commissioners Minutes Book documents the awarding of the contract for building the bridge “to Joseph G. Johnson, at the sum of $2,000” on September 11, 1860 and on October 9, 1860 the County Commissioners and Mr. Johnson signed and sealed the deal. An article in The Cecil Whig on December 15, 1860 reported on four bridges in Cecil County being close to completion. Regarding Gilpin’s Falls Bridge, the article stated, “The new bridge over North East Creek, at Gilpin’s Falls, is in process of completion, and will soon be ready for use, as we learn from Mr. Jos. G. Johnson, the contractor. The cost of the bridge is $2,000.” On June 18, 1861, the County Commissioners “ordered that J.S. Crawford, Clk, pay Jos. G. Johnson, Bridge Contactor, the balance on his acct. for Bridges at Gilpins Falls, and near J. Reynolds.” Although not confirmed, this could mean the bridge was likely completed sometime in very late December 1860, or early in 1861. The strength of Gilpin’s Falls Bridge is evidenced by it surviving all the floods in northeast Maryland in Cecil and Harford counties during the mid to late 1800s, while many other covered bridges and iron bridges were lost.
Historical Information found on: Gilpin’s Falls Covered Bridge (mdcoveredbridges.com)