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Old 12-19-2016, 06:10 PM
 
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E. A. Donecker was definitely a Lehigh county commissioner, I think even the president at one point.
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Old 12-19-2016, 10:32 PM
 
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Originally Posted by JohnZ963 View Post
E. A. Donecker was definitely a Lehigh county commissioner,
For sure, all the names came up in searches, it's crazy how I can find items about the marriage between Weiler and Keck creating the Weiler-Keck contracting co, and I can find geneology about and names of their kids, relatives, occupations of some of the family members (one was a coal dealer) the office address of Moyer, how much one of those named Commissioners' annual salaries was and more, but the BRIDGE itself is like it never existed but it has this very expensive solid bronze plaque for it!

I swear this has the making of a theme for a "Twilite Zone" episode, titled: "The case of the missing bridge", we have the plaque with remnants of mortar on the back, we have a blurb about a $50,000 cost with Moyer's name, we have maps of a creek the bridge was to go over, but the creek is so small you could almost jump over it, but that's it!

We'll see what if any response I get from the county to my email.

The kind of bridge a plaque like this would be on would more like the 8th street bridge (Albertus Meyers bridge) that was recently cleaned and rehabbed.

http://i.imgur.com/x6TdGpS.png

People have no idea what a plaque like this would cost to make today, and even in 1919 it would have cost a lot, this is not something that would have been found on one of the many covered wood bridges, or any of the small road bridges, that's what is so baffling about this.

A search in the Library of Congress site, their historic building archives has many bridges in it, I searched for "bridge plaque" and 17 pages full of results came up, I think out of the 17 pages- about 327 entires, only about 2-3 entries included the description "bronze", as I browsed the 17 pages of images, almost all of the plaques in the pictures were relatively small, cast-iron.

I have a plaster Paul Revere plaque, about the same size as this bridge plaque, made in 1899 that according to an ad about it being offered by a coffee company as a give-away, was worth $12, about $345 today, hundreds, to maybe thousands were made and it was just plaster. The 80# bronze of this bridge plaque would cost about $800 to buy today (about $57 back in 1919) just for the metal ingots, and probably about $5,000 to $8,000 or more to make one like it (about $360-$575 in 1919) that's why it wouldn't have been installed on some small covered bridge or insignificant back road bridge.
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Old 12-20-2016, 05:33 PM
 
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I heard back from the county, and it gets even more interesting! I just send this fellow a photo of the plaque itself, the 2 bridges he mentioned and sent photos of are just tiny little almost culverts, we'll see what he says after seeing the photo.

Quote:
The County maintains 2 bridges along “Old Route 22” that are located over the Mill Creek. Our records indicate that they were built in 1929. One of them is a culvert which is less than 20 feet long. The other bridge is a conventional reinforced concrete T-beam bridge which is 35 feet long. Both are located in Weisenberg Township. I have included a photograph for each of the bridges.

Some of our bridges are named for or are commonly referred to by a family name or village associated with the location of the bridge, e.g. Bittner’s Corner Bridge, Kressley’s Bridge, etc.. Our bridge files contain no information that coincides with the data provided – Peter’s Bridge.

Tilghman H. Moyer was a prominent Lehigh Valley architect/engineer during that time period, but I have no knowledge of the whereabouts of his records.

Does the bridge plaque indicate the municipality that the bridge was located within?

Sorry,


(redacted)

Bridge Engineer
County of Lehigh

He mentions "commonly referred to names" and I see that a lot, but in this case the actual bronze plaque has the name on it. Were it not for the plaque actually naming the Lehigh Pa County commissioners, engineer, and courthouse clerk, I'd say it could have come from another county or even another state. I can't imagine they would have had the plaque made and not built the bridge, the plaque was installed somewhere on a masonry wall because of the back of it having remnants of old mortar and one of the integral anchor rods was broken off
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Old 12-20-2016, 07:04 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Sculptor View Post
I heard back from the county, and it gets even more interesting! I just send this fellow a photo of the plaque itself, the 2 bridges he mentioned and sent photos of are just tiny little almost culverts, we'll see what he says after seeing the photo.
Our records indicate that they were built in 1929. One of them is a culvert which is less than 20 feet long. The other bridge is a conventional reinforced concrete T-beam bridge which is 35 feet long.
The latitude and longitude of the T-beam bridge is (40.579731, -75.729802). I am not sure what the culvert is that he is referring to, as the PA state database does not include bridges of less than 20'

I should point out that the Mill Creek he is referring to is not the same Mill Creek I mentioned in my earlier post. The creek that he is referring to is only 1.4 miles in Lehigh County (although it continues on into Berks county).

If you look at the watershed map, there are two "Mill Creeks". I sent a note to the conservation organization about the bad link to one of the "Mill Creek" detailed watershed maps, and they promised to fix it eventually.
Lehigh Conservation District: Interactive Watershed Map

The engineer is referring to the Mill Creek he one in my earlier post is colored purple. I was referring to the one colored brown.

The major bridges in the county are nearer to the urban area and cross the Lehigh River, the Little Lehigh, and Jordan Creek.
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Old 12-20-2016, 08:41 PM
 
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I think Mill Creek might be too common of a name. IIRC, there's also a Mill Creek in Coopersburg. And, the road that the Walmart Supercenter is on in Trexlertown is Mill Creek Road ... but I can't think of a creek near there.

Near Slatington is Peters Elementary School - maybe it's somewhere in that area.

The name Peters in NW Lehigh County is extremely common...
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Old 12-20-2016, 10:51 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PacoMartin View Post

I should point out that the Mill Creek he is referring to is not the same Mill Creek I mentioned in my earlier post. The creek that he is referring to is only 1.4 miles in Lehigh County (although it continues on into Berks county).


The major bridges in the county are nearer to the urban area and cross the Lehigh River, the Little Lehigh, and Jordan Creek.

I noticed there were two, odd but there are, good that you contacted them about the bad link. I found an old Congressional book that has a Civil war reference to the 11th Pennsylvania calvalry skirmish where they went across the Nottaway river using "Peter's Bridge" and that had my hopes up I finally found something, and searched for that river but that particular bridge turned out to be in Virginia, and the time was in the 1860s anyway- long before 1919...

https://books.google.com/books?id=cj...lvania&f=false

We'll see what that engineer says in response to the photo of the actual plaque, I had used their web form and there was no way to send a photo which may be why he thought of the "common name usage" thinking maybe it was just a local nickname for the bridge.

The county general info contact fellow emailed me back after I thanked him for putting me in contact with the engineer, and said this:
"keep us posted... Steve is a bridge expert, and he loves to "talk bridges".

So I'm hoping with the photo in his hands it may bring some answers now that he can see what the plaque says, and that the size and material it's made of are obviously not what would be found on a tiny culvert or dirt road type bridge, but more like that multiple arch 8th Street bridge in Allentown.

If Steve the county engineer, bridge guy doesn't have a clue, and his not even finding anything in the records of a bridge by this name, then I guess this search is a lost cause to continue with because I'm running into nothing but dead ends and this is just about the last great "possible." I'll have to assume the plaque was cast and made in advance and the bridge was never built and cancelled, and someone had the plaque mounted on their garden wall all these years or something.

Bridges don't just vanish into thin air without a trace, but this one sure seemed to have!

Another plaque I own is much smaller, I found all the information and photos a few weeks ago easily in about 5 minutes of searching for the contractor's name:

http://historicbridges.org/concrete/...d/dscf7499.jpg

And that relatively small plaque came from this bridge, which also shows how unique the large bronze plaque is since this smaller plaque is what is typical, it's only about 14" long.

http://historicbridges.org/concrete/cleveland/bkg5.JPG







Last edited by Sculptor; 12-20-2016 at 11:05 PM..
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Old 12-21-2016, 08:11 AM
 
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Originally Posted by mrknowitall526 View Post
I think Mill Creek might be too common of a name. IIRC, there's also a Mill Creek in Coopersburg. And, the road that the Walmart Supercenter is on in Trexlertown is Mill Creek Road ... but I can't think of a creek near there.
The aerial photos seem to indicate that there is a former creek there which may have been redirected. That is another possibility that I didn't think about. The engineers may have eliminated the creek altogether so that the former bridge served no purpose anymore.
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Old 12-21-2016, 11:41 AM
 
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Originally Posted by PacoMartin View Post
The aerial photos seem to indicate that there is a former creek there which may have been redirected. That is another possibility that I didn't think about. The engineers may have eliminated the creek altogether so that the former bridge served no purpose anymore.
That's another possibility, as is the thought I had the other night of- could Lehigh county back in 1919 been larger than it is now, and maybe encompassed some land nearby that has since been "redrawn" or divided into another county?
I think that happened in various states, probably more commonly in the 19th century than in more modern times. If so, then the commissioners would have been in control of a larger county that has a river large enough for a decent sized bridge, but which has been divided and incorporated in an adjacent county after 1919.
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Old 12-21-2016, 03:28 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Sculptor View Post
That's another possibility, as is the thought I had the other night of- could Lehigh county back in 1919 been larger than it is now, and maybe encompassed some land nearby that has since been "redrawn" or divided into another county?
That occurred to me also, but Lehigh was one of the last counties to be formed (in 1812) and has always been the same size.

It's just that the several tributaries named Mill Creek are all very small and since many of the farmers came from the Palatinate, the name Peters is fairly common.surname.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palatinate_(region)
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Old 12-21-2016, 05:30 PM
 
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Originally Posted by PacoMartin View Post
That occurred to me also, but Lehigh was one of the last counties to be formed (in 1812) and has always been the same size.

It's just that the several tributaries named Mill Creek are all very small and since many of the farmers came from the Palatinate, the name Peters is fairly common.surname.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palatinate_(region)
I found that later, the county was created by dividing another county, but that was way back in 1812 like you said.

Peters does seem common, and it was Peter Weiler with Peter as the given name who married Sarah Keck and the bridge contractor Weiler-Keck Co was a combination of their names, but I'm sure his given name being Peter and the bridge being named Peters' bridge was just coincidence.

I found a waymarker tourist site that happened to have a section that included 23 pages of photos, of 561 bridge plaques and year stones in situ, submitted by people from around the world, not one of the 561 photos depicted this plaque unfortunately...

Bridge Date Stones and Plaques - A Waymarking.com Category
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