Delaware Avenue or Mitchell's Mill or Vinsinger's Covered Bridge
WORLD GUIDE #
|Big Elk Creek
Delaware Avenue Covered Bridge, originally known as Mitchell's Mill or Vinsinger's Covered Bridge crossed Big Elk Creek at the east end of Elkton at Mitchell and Stump's Mill. The Delaware Avenue bridge was built similar to Red Mill Covered Bridge over Little Elk Creek, just a little west of Elkton.
Jos. G. Johnson submitted a bid to the Cecil County Commissioners Minutes on August 8, 1865 and on August 9th his bid was accepted. Johnson was paid $3,460 to build the bridge. On August 9th, Mr. Johnson wrote a letter to the County Commissioners confirming his commitment to build Mitchell's Mill bridge and detailed the specifications of the bridge. In part, it called for an 85 foot span to be on the Burr Plan improved, "roof of good shingles and wood work all of good sound timber with White Oak flooring." The "minutes" of December 12, 1865 ordered the clerk "pay Jos. G. Johnson bridge contractor $325 for the balance due him on Mitchell's Mill bridge."
Delaware Avenue Covered Bridge is depicted in the book Parts of Elkton in 1918 by Rodney Frazer.
Delaware Avenue Covered Bridge 1917. Vinsinger's Mill is in the left background. Courtesy Historical Society of Cecil County.
This photo was likely taken during the June 1884 flood. The writing on the roof says, "Smoke Seal of North Carolina Plug Cut Tobacco." Photo courtesy Cecil County Historical Society, photographer unknown.
Another photo probably taken during the flood of 1884. The position of the photographer was north of the bridge on the west side of the road, looking southeast, near the mill. Photo courtesy Cecil County Historical Society, photographer unknown.
Various articles appeared over the years in the Baltimore Sun about Vinsinger's Covered Bridge:
From an August 31, 1897 article, a body was found near the covered bridge. The article describes the area where the body was found: "The creek lies on the side of the town farthest from the railway station and is about fifteen minutes walk. At the mill of Davis and Vinsinger, there is a covered bridge, and about one hundred yards below the bridge there is a deep hole. Along the bank of the stream runs a barb wire fence of six strands."
From March 6, 1927, a Letter to the Editor, the writer recalls the Main Street area of Elkton: "Main street is still an avenue of beauty when the trees are in full leaf. Vinsinger's Mill still grinds, but the ownership has changed, and the picturesque covered bridge has given way in recent years to a modern structure of concrete." Main Street intersect Delaware Avenue about a quarter mile from the bridge. Elkton maps of the 1907, 1912 and March of 1922 editions of Sanborn Map & Publishing Co., Limited show Delaware Avenue Covered Bridge was still standing. (The 1931 edition shows a concrete bridge replaced the covered bridge.) The above article and the maps put the removal of the bridge sometime between 1922 and 1927.
More memories of the old covered bridge were told in a poem published in the Baltimore Sun on October 3, 1932 titled An Old Bridge at Elkton by Folger McKinsey:
I have a picture of a covered bridge, at Elkton, where the new bridge came along--
The bridge they called Vinsinger's in a day when hearts were light with summer and song, and hair had not turned gray.
I saw the lads that used to gather there, to go swimming in the old mill race
And I could hear their voices in the air, and see the light of many a shinning face, the fluff of tousled hair.
Mr. Harry T. Alexander, a covered bridge enthusiast, wrote about Delaware Avenue Bridge at Elkton (undated): "Vinsinger's Bridge was a covered wooden one. The creek was also crossed by fording. It was replaced by a steel, concrete one."
UPDATED: 2/25/2012, photos added.
UPDATED: 2/6/2010, articles from the Baltimore Sun about Vinsinger's Mill Bridge including probably date the bridge was replaced.