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Red Mill Covered Bridge

Cecil MD-07-18x Little Elk Creek Howe with Burr arch 1 110' 1860 after 1898
On June 9, 1860 the Cecil Democrat published a notice to bridge builders inviting bids for construction of three bridges, one of which was Red Mill bridge. The portion pertaining to Red Mill read: "Plan for a covered bridge over the Little Elk Creek at the Red Mill on the Post Road (Rt.7) from Elkton to North East, abutments to be 20' long and 6-1/2' thick, 9' high above ordinary water level and the foundations to be not less than 5' below the bed of the creek. The wing walls to be 30' long and 30' apart at the ends and arched inward one inch to the foot. The span is 110' and the width from out to out 17' and 15' from string pieces to square, with double ribbed segments, double arch, and double string pieces." The specifications also called for, "The guard walls to be the same length as the wing walls, 3-1/2 feet high, and 20 inches thick; to have fastenings built therein for a roof to pitch outwards." (Click here to see the detailed specifications for building Red Mill Bridge.)
The Cecil County Commissioners Minutes of June 19, 1860 stated, "the bridge at Red Mill was awarded to James H. Smith for $2,850, to be of Howe Truss with a Burr arch."
Charles Lawrence and Sarah Boyle of Maryland, kept extensive notes while researching Cecil County Covered Bridges: "The original bridge over the Little Elk Creek at Red Mill on the North East Road west of Elkton was a covered wood one; the creek was also forded at that time. It was replaced by a modern concrete one. The concrete bridge was abandoned in 1941, followed by two steel and concrete ones for the new dual highway on Route 40, built in 1940-41."
Red Mill Bridge survived the flood of May 26, 1898. Although many bridges were lost in that flood, Red Mill Bridge only suffered minor damage. The Cecil Democrat reported on May 27th, "the old covered bridge at the Red Mill, somehow or other managed to stay upon its foundations." The Baltimore Sun confirmed the bridge survived the flood in an article on May27th: "For a time the flood threatened the large covered bridge at the Red Mill, but, with the exception of being slightly damaged, it stood the strain."

UPDATED: 06/28/2010, for information about the bridge surviving the 1898 flood and for detailed build specifications from Cecil Democrat ad.

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