River Guide: The Bridge Club – Umble’s

Take a gander at the toll collection on New Holland Pike near Pleasure Road. Only a century has passed since that photo was taken. There are four lanes of arterial traffic flying through this signalized intersection today, with some creative automobile maneuvering to boot.

Can you imagine being the only motorized vehicle on the road and stopping to pay your toll to Bertha Walters?

Century-old toll collection on New Holland Pike near Pleasure Road.
Century-old toll collection on New Holland Pike near Pleasure Road. – Image from the book “From The Beginning” by Nat Netscher

Now, imagine driving north across where Route 30 was yet to be built, into the sleepy village of Eden. Rather than continuing to Binkley’s Bridge, you must turn right onto Millcross Road and pass a dozen or so houses before reaching a covered bridge.

Image courtesy of LancasterHistory

It’s interesting to note that this bridge handled all traffic heading for New Holland while the iron bridge on the Pike was closed from 1929 to 1931. Across the bridge lay East Lampeter Township and the building that used to house Eden Roller Mills, which operated as a grist mill until the twentieth century. This was the mill, whose dam was being “crossed” by the road.

ground view.jpg
Image courtesy of LancasterHistory

Originally built in 1812 by Abraham Zook, it changed hands over the years and finally was owned by Mr. Umble, after whom the bridge then became known. If you follow Pine Drive up the hill, you’ll come to the neighborhood once known as Holland Heights.

Back on the west side of the River, you’re still in Manheim Township and probably noticing the lovely bed and breakfast inn, if you can look past the sewage pumping station.

Image courtesy of LancasterHistory

This building was erected in the 1860s for W. C. Beecher, who owned Beecher Iron Works. The bridge itself was built as a single span double arch wooden bridge in 1848 at a cost of $1,790.00 by Israel Groff. It was purchased by the County, repaired multiple times over the years, and just recently had its second full-scale replacement.

Click here to read about other members of the Conestoga Bridge Club.

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