Home Existing Covered Bridges Bygone Covered Bridges Romantic Shelters About Covered Bridges Trusses News Links

Rowlandsville or Octoraro Creek Covered Bridge

Cecil MD-07-19x Octoraro Creek Unk Unk Approx. 120' 1830 1884
A series of Maryland Session Laws in the 1820s were responsible for the building of a bridge over Octoraro Creek at or near Samuel Rowland's store (in Rowlandsville). A Session Law of 1821, Chapter 112, passed on February 1, 1822 first authorized the building of the bridge at a cost of $800. A supplement the same year, Chapter 151, passed on February 12th authorized another $200 "be applied to roofing and completing said bridge." It appears that the bridge still had not been built by 1823 for Chapter 102 reinforced the need for the bridge and reinforcement was made again in the 1824 Session Laws, Chapter 6, passed January 8, 1825. It seems there may have been a dispute over the use of property at and near the bridge. Finally, the Session Laws of 1830, Chapter 78, passed on February 9, 1830 provided for the changing of Commissioners and empowered the commissioners to contract "any person or persons to roof and weatherboard said bridge."
The Cecil County Commissioners Minutes of June 28, 1865 declared that "a recent storm carried away a portion of the roof and timber of the county bridge over the Octoraro at Rowlandsville. Mr. Thos. Kerwards of the Board was ordered to repair or have repaired said damages, and the sum of $300 was ordered to be levied for said purposes."
A devastating flood on June 26, 1884 carried away many bridges in Cecil County. On June 28, 1884, The Cecil Democrat included an article about the flood and loss of bridges titled "A Raging Flood." Rowlandsville Bridge was mentioned in the article:
About 8 o'clock the county bridge over the Octoraro and the one over Basin Run were lifted and dashed to pieces.
Another article about the loss of the bridge appeared in the Cecil Whig on July 5, 1884:
Seventh District. Bridge (120 feet) over Octoraro creek at Rowlandsville and abutments completely demolished; bridge (100 feet) over Basin Run at Rowlandsville and abutments gone.
The Cecil Democrat reported on July 5, 1884: "The bridge across the Octoraro was built 1826 at a cost of $800. It will cost three times that much to replace it." (It is likely the bridge was not actually built until 1830.)
On October 1, 1884 a contract was awarded to Penn Iron Company to build an iron bridge at Rowlandsville to replace the recently destroyed wooden covered bridge.

UPDATED: 06/28/2010, for additional information about the loss of the bridge in the 1884 flood. Size corrected to 120 feet.

Rowlandsville c1860 showing Covered Bridge over Octoraro Creek
The town of Rowlandsville, c1860. Covered Bridge over Octoraro Creek is shown at the center left edge of the photo. Courtesy Historical Society of Cecil County.

Back to Bygone Covered Bridges

Maryland Covered Bridges
Email me: mdcoveredbridges@comcast.net