top of page

Inwood and Waterville Bridges, Swatara Gap, Pennsylvania

There are two interesting, historic truss bridges situated at Swatara Gap in Swatara State Park, east of Harrisburg in Pennsylvania. Both bridges have been disassembled, moved, and reconstructed to be preserved, as well as to provide access to hiking trails, in the park.

The Waterville Bridge is an example of a lenticular truss bridge constructed by the Berlin Iron Bridge Company of East Berlin, Connecticut. Only about 70 lenticular through-truss bridges were constructed between the 1870s and 1890s, and only approximately 15 of them remain be visited. The Waterville Bridge dates from 1890, and has all of the detailed decoration, including an ornamental frieze and date plaque over the portal, that is associated with the Berlin Iron Bridge Company bridges. While most rehabilitated bridges are reconstructed in place or moved, at most, a few miles, you will no longer find the Waterville Bridge anywhere near Waterville. This bridge was moved more than 100 miles in 1985 to carry the Appalachian Trail across Swatara Creek in Swatara State Park.

To capture two amazing bridges within a single hour, the Inwood Iron Bridge, dating from 1899 and rehabilitated in 2019, is only about a half-mile away. The bridge no longer carries a road, or even a trail, as one end of the bridge is closed off. However, the preservation was done very nicely, with a large parking lot, asphalt trails, and multiple historical and commemorative information plaques.

There is a sub-chapter on the lenticular truss bridges of the Berlin Iron Bridge Company in Chapter 2 of my book, Bridgespotting: A Guide to Bridges that Connect People, Places, and Times.

bottom of page