Swan's Covered Bridge
WORLD GUIDE #
||MD-12-37x & MD-03-31x
||Little Gunpowder Falls
Belair Road was a major turnpike in the 1800s leading from Baltimore to the Susquehanna River. Little Gunpowder Falls was one of many streams crossing the Belair Road, often spelled Bel-Air, Bell Air or Belaire. Little Gunpowder Falls, often called Little Gunpowder River, was the dividing line for Harford and Baltimore counties.
On August 24, 1831, The Madison advertised for bridge builders to submit proposals for building a bridge over the Little Gunpowder on Belair Road. In part, it read: "The Undersigned Commissioners appointed by Baltimore and Harford Counties will receive proposals up to Saturday, the 15th of September for rebuilding the BRIDGE over the Little Gunpowder Falls, near Swans, on Bel-Air road." The bridge proposal called for the bridge to be a length of 45 feet, width 11 feet, roofed with good pine shingles, and weatherboarded with pine plank.¹
Although it is not certain as to when the covered bridge at Swan's was replaced, possibly with another covered bridge, or removed, a few articles appeared in the Baltimore Sun referencing the bridge over the Little Gunpowder on Belair Road.
May 9, 1894:
Bridge Said to Be Unsafe. George J. Finney, clerk to the Harford county commissioners, has written to the Baltimore county commissioners that the Baltimore county side of the bridge over the Little Gunpowder river, on the Belair road, is unsafe. The Harford county side, Mr. Finney says, has just been repaired.
August 14, 1902:
Francis Caldwell, road commissioner, reported that the bridge on the Old Belair road over the Little Gunpowder falls is in a dangerous condition and needs a general overhauling. He was directed to confer with the Harford county authorities, as the bridge is between Baltimore and Harford counties.
November 9, 1921:
Notice to Contractors. Sealed proposals for building the following bridge: Harford County contract H-29 - Double 54' 0" Span, Reinforced Concrete Arch Bridge over Little Gunpowder Falls, between Baltimore and Harford counties, on the Belair road, including earth fill and removal of present truss bridge, will be received at the State Roads Commission, at its offices, 601 Garrett Building, Baltimore, Maryland, until 12 M. on the 22nd day of November, 1921, at which time and place they will be publicly opened and read.
¹Jack L. Shagena, Jr., Henry C. Peden, Jr., Timber Bridges - Covered and Uncovered: Harford County's Rural Heritage. (Privately printed by the authors; Bel Air, MD, March, 2010), p. 64; The Madison, August 24, 1831.