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Middletown Covered Bridge

Frededick MD-10-15x Catoctin Creek Burr 1 83' 1809?/1868 1938
Middletown Covered Bridge is considered by some historians to be the first covered bridge built in Maryland. It crossed Catoctin Creek on what is now Bidle Street, .6 mile southwest of the National Pike in Middletown.
From an article in the Baltimore Sunpapers, October 17, 1937: "There is only one covered bridge today which can be definitely dated; it stands near Middletown, Frederick County, and was put up in 1809." The article continues: (the bridge) "stands half a mile southwest of the National Pike, just a quarter of a mile past the Burkettsville Road. It is a bow-string, 83 feet long, and despite its age, it is in fair condition. Its timbers are white pine, which was the wood regularly used for covered bridges in the western counties."
The bridge, and the area just before the bridge at a fork in the road, encountered many accidents as automobile traffic increased in the early 1920s. In the spring of 1930 the bridge's siding was removed to provide a better sight line for motorists.
The build date of 1809 for the bridge conflicts with an article in The News (Frederick, MD) on June 17, 1938. More than likely the first bridge, which may have been built in 1809, was lost at some time and a replacement bridge was built (about 1868). The article also confirms the date the bridge was lost:

Closed Bridge Drops into Catoctin Creek - Ancient Structure Collapses Soon After Storm Last Sunday

Bid farewell to another ancient Middletown Valley landmark - the covered bridge across Catoctin Creek on the old Middletown-Burkettsville road, one mile southwest of Middletown, which it spanned for 70 years.
The final collapse of the structure came shortly before 6 o'clock Sunday evening, several hours after a violent wind and rain storm had subsided. The crash of the bridge was heard for some distance. The highway has been closed to traffic since Sunday, June 5, when the bridge suddenly sank about two feet on the north side because of rotting timbers.
It is understood that specifications have already been prepared for the erection of a new bridge, which will be a two-span steel structure, with a center pier. No information could be secured as to whether the new bridge will be erected on the same site or a portion of the road relocated.
Middletown Covered Bridge Middletown Covered Bridge
Middletown Covered Bridge, photo taken April 1938. Middletown Covered Bridge, photo taken April 1938.

Special thanks to Linda Burns for providing us with the 1938 article from The News.

UPDATED: 5/16/2013, for additional information about conflicting dates the bridge was built and confirmation of the date the bridge was lost.
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