Stafford Mills Covered Bridge
WORLD GUIDE #
Stafford Ironworks, a flint mill, the village, bridge and former Post Office were located close to Stafford Road at the mouth of Deer Creek just west of the Susquehanna River and not far from the town of Darlington.
On March 22, 1867, the Aegis and Intelligencer advertised a Bridge Notice:
The Commissioners for Harford County will receive sealed proposals util noon Monday, April 1st, next, of plans and specifications for building a bridge over Deer Creek at Stafford Mills.
The contract was awarded to Crawford & Jones for $3,800 to rebuild a bridge at Stafford Mills. Although the Bridge Notice did not specifically state it was to be a covered bridge, the amount of money awarded for the contract indicates sufficient funds for a wooden truss, covered bridge.
The newly built bridge at Stafford was nearly lost during a heavy rainfall in late July, 1867. First reports had the bridges at Wilson's Mill and Stafford Mills as lost, but subsequent news reported the bridge at Wilson's Mill was lost but the one at Stafford suffered considerable damage.
An ice gorge in late February, 1875 toppled the Stafford Bridge into Deer Creek. As the bridge floated downstream into the Tidewater Canal, it was destroyed by fire to prevent it from inflicting damage on the canal bridge at the mouth of Deer Creek. The county considered the loss to be between $4,000 and $5,000. The location of the Stafford Bridge was about 25-50 feet south of the current Stafford Road concrete crossing.
Stafford Bridge old abutment, east side, taken July 6, 2009.
Stafford Bridge old abutment, west side, and remains of center pier in water, taken July 6, 2009.
An ad appeared in the local paper on March 12, 1875 declaring that, "After April 1st, there will be a supply of Bone Dust on the site of Deer Creek (opposite the mill) until the bridge is rebuilt, so that customers can be supplied with the same facitilty as if the bridge was standing."
After the loss of the bridge during the ice gorge of 1875, ads were placed in local papers for building a new bridge, accepting proposals for both a covered bridge and an iron bridge. An iron bridge proposal was accepted. The iron bridge was lost in the ice gorge of 1904.
An interesting article appeared in the Aegis and Intelligencer in August of 1961 about subsequent bridges across Deer Creek at Stafford:
The ice gorge of 1904 swelled Deer Creek and demolished most of Stafford's buildings. Mrs. Goldie Smith was the last of her family to reside at Stafford. She held the honored distinction of being the first to officially cross the first steel bridge at Stafford in 1904 and the concrete bridge which replaced it in 1950.