La Grange Iron Works or Rocks Road Covered Bridge
WORLD GUIDE #
||1871 or earlier
The covered bridge at La Grange Iron Works was another bridge authorized to be built by the Maryland Session Laws of the 1800s.
C. Milton Wright, writer and historian of Harford County recalled the location of La Grange Iron Works and the bridge nearby: "The La Grange Iron Works were situated, you know, where the present new bridge at Rocks Road over Deer Creek is, well, right at the left is a road leading from the Rocks to Five Forks, or Rocks Road. It was in an angle of the road which turns left just before you cross the bridge and the creek."¹
Author Jack Shagena also provides information in his book on Harford County Mills about the location of the La Grange IronWorks: "A forge and slitting mill were built 1832 by John Withers on Deer Creek above Rocks at St. Clair Bridge (Road) and Rocks Road."²
The Maryland Session Laws of 1837, Chapter 236, passed on March 24, 1838 provided for "an act for building a Bridge over Deer Creek, at or near La Grange Iron Works, in Harford County."
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Maryland, That Isaac Rodgers, Ignatius Rutledge and Thomas Street of John, be, and they are hereby appointed commissioners to fix upon a site, at or near where the public road crosses Deer Creek, at La Grange iron works, for building a bridge over said creek, and said commissioners are hereby authorized to erect or cause to be erected , a good and substantial bridge, with stone abutments, the bridge to be weather-boarded, and covered with cedar or pine shingles, and done in a workmanlike manner, and for a sum not to exceed six hundred dollars.
A supplement to the Session Law of 1838 was passed on March 18, 1839, Chapter 196 for "assessing and collecting such additional sum as may be wanted for making up the sum necessary to complete the construction of a bridge heretofore authorized to be erected over Deer Creek, at Lagrange Iron Works."
An article in the Baltimore Sun on February 25, 1846 introduces some confusion about whether or not the covered bridge was completed back in the 1830s. The article was about recent activity of the Maryland Legislature and included the following: "Mr. Street reported a bill to authorize a levy to build a bridge over Deer Creek at La Grange's iron works." A search of the Session Laws did not result in any more Acts authorizing money to build a bridge at La Grange's.
The Harford Madisonian reported on September 24, 1847: "For completing bridge at Lagrange iron works, payable to Isaac & Ignatius Rutledge $125.00," and also to "Isaac Rogers for filling abutment of bridge at Lagrange $25.00." It was not uncommon during this time period in history that, even though money was approved for bridge and road projects, the work was not always completed in a timely manner. Our conclusion is that the bridge at La Grange was indeed a wooden covered one, but was not completed until 1847.
The Baltimore Sun on April 29, 1871 reported "a handsome iron bridge has just been completed over Deer Creek, at La Grange Iron Works, by Mr. L.W. Finley, contractor, at a cost to the county of $2,000. It is constructed of wrought iron, and consists of a single arch, spanning 75-1/2 feet. This is the first iron bridge ever erected in this county."
¹ C. Milton Wright Collection of Road Survey Testimony Referencing Road Books #1 & #2, (1956).
² Jack L. Shagena, Jr., Henry C. Peden, Jr., John W. McGrain, Mills: Grist, Saw, Bone, Flint, Fulling...& More, (Privately printed by authors: 2009), p. 204.