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Parks Rolling Mill or Smith & Parks Fording Covered Bridge

Parks Rolling Mill Photo Gallery
Cecil MD-07-07x Big Elk Creek Burr Double Arch 1 109' 1874 1953
Two covered bridges crossed Big Elk Creek about a mile west of Cowentown in Cecil County. Parks Rolling Mill bridge was the longest of the two at 109 feet. Its upstream twin, Scott's bridge was about 71 feet. Covered Bridge enthusiast John Poteet measured the bridge in the late 1940s and found it to be 109'.
Covered Bridge Topics, December 1948 Issue lists the bridge as crossing Big Elk Creek on Cherry Hill Road and says the bridge long survived the mill of the same name.¹
Parks Rolling Mill was also referred to as Parks-Smith Bridge and Smith & Parks Fording Bridge. It crossed Big Elk Creek at the Elk River Electric Company. The bridge was often mentioned in the 1874 minutes of the Cecil County Road Commissoners. 4/25/1874: "Minutes" stated the bridge at Smith & Parks Fording will be 110 feet; 5/12/1874: Contract was awarded to Wm. A. Cannan for $1970; 5/13/1874: Cannan failed to comply and contract was awarded to James K. Willis for $2200; 5/30/1874: Stated the bridge was a 110' Burr arch; 12/9/1874: "The bridge over Big Elk Creek at Smith and Parks Fording being completed and examined, the same was accepted, and the clerk ordered to settle with the contractor."
Parks Rolling Mill Covered Bridge 1938
Parks Rolling Mill Bridge 1938. Photo courtesy Poteet Family.
In an article in the Baltimore American On April 4, 1954, Jane Plant wrote about Parks Rolling Mill bridge:
Downstream (from Scott's Bridge over Big Elk Creek), close to Elk Mills, there was another covered bridge until November, 1953. This one was Old Parks Rolling Mill bridge, also of the bowstring type, but one with an especially graceful long, sweeping arch giving it a span of 109 feet.
It has long been a state of picturesque dilapidation, the siding mostly gone, the roof in holes, the roadway leading up onto it partly washed away. But decay was at work all the time. When an unusually heavy snow came the roof fell in and the old bridge collapsed.
Be sure to click on the link near the top of this page to see more photos of Parks Rolling Mills Bridge.

¹ Covered Bridge Topics (Anderson, Indiana: Volume 6, Number 4: 1948), p. 1.
UPDATED: 6/28/2010, added a photo gallery.
UPDATED: 2/06/2010, for information from Cecil County Road Commissioners Minutes detailing bridge name, truss, cost, contractor and build date.
UPDATED: 12/06/2008, for location on Big Elk's Creek (mapquest).

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