The forgotten winter tradition of ‘snowing the bridge’

Before the automobile became the dominant form of transportation, it was customary for a nearby farmer to “snow the bridge” after each winter storm so sleighs could slide through. For this unique service, he earned $10 a year.

If this were still the case today, the farmer responsible for Baumgardner’s Covered Bridge might have an easy time of it because of this weird geographic quirk. The Pequea Creek forms the boundary between Martic and Pequea Townships, which the Baumgardner spans.

1875 map of Pequea Township with Baumgardner’s mill and covered bridge visible.

As late as the 1970s, according to Seeing Lancaster County’s Covered Bridges, the snowplow from Pequea Township would push the snow up to the bridge and then stop since the large vehicle was not allowed on the wooden structure. The bridge’s wingwalls hemmed the snow in, often blocking the bridge’s entrance.

Baumgardner’s Covered Bridge with the mill visible in the background.

It was the same story on the Martic Township side, resulting in piles of snow at both ends of the bridge. At least the farmer in charge of “snowing the bridge” would have had an easy time of it.

You can find Baumgardner’s Covered Bridge at approximately 88 Covered Bridge Road, Pequea, PA, or click here for its exact GPS location.

Click here to read more about Baumgardner’s Covered Bridge and mill.

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