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

Jerusalem Covered Bridge

Baltimore & Harford MD-03-15x & MD-12-07x Little Gunpowder Falls Burr 1 approx 90' c1837 1929
In the early 1800s there were many mills in the area of Jerusalem, Jericho and Franklinville. The mills were located along Little Gunpowder Falls which separated Baltimore and Harford counties. David Lee operated Lee's Merchant Mill in Jerusalem Mill Village and his son and heir, Ralph Sackett Lee, successfully expanded the villages operation in the early 1800s.
It is know as early as 1832 Ralph Sackett Lee pressed the Maryland Legislature to build a covered bridge near his mill on Jerusalem Road. (The bridge was washed away in 1929.)¹ His efforts were reported in the Harford Historical Bulletin, a publication of the Harford County Historical Society.²
In 1832, the Legislature enacted a bill "to build a bridge over the Little Gunpowder at Lee's Mill," and provided $550 in funds. Ralph Lee's ledger, recently discovered, contains a page labeled Bridge Account and listed materials used.
669' rafters, 1319' scantlin, 1860' sheeting, 3364' weatherboards, 234 pounds 10-penny nails and 2 bushels of lime for white washing bridge.
Half a dozen workmen were hired at 50 cents per day.
However, the bridge was probably not built until 1837 for a document from the Maryland Session Laws, 1836, Chapter 199 provided "an act appointing Commissioners to build a Bridge over the Little Falls of Gunpowder, in Harford and Baltimore Counties." The act continues "...at or near the ford where the Baltimore and Harford turnpike road crosses, leading to Bel-Air on said falls." (In 1837 Jerusalem Road was considered the Baltimore to Harford turnpike.) The act also says "...for building the same with one arch, and out of prime oak or pine timber, weatherboarded in and covered with white pine or cedar shingles, the whole to be completed in a workmanlike manner." The act was passed March 17, 1837.

Jerusalem Covered Bridge 1910 Jerusalem Covered Bridge 1915
Jerusalem Bridge about 1910. Jerusalem Bridge about 1915.
Jerusalem Covered Bridge Artist Conception
Jerusalem Covered Bridge Artist Conception. Jerusalem Mill on the left in background. Blacksmith Shop in foreground.

Many confuse the Jerusalem Bridge with Jericho Covered Bridge, built 1865 and still standing over Little Gunpowder Falls on Jericho Road. If one would have entered Jerusalem Covered Bridge from the Baltimore County side, he would have exited the bridge into Harford County, traveled a short stretch to Jericho Road and about a 1/4 mile ahead would enter Jericho Bridge from Harford County and then exit it back into Baltimore County.
¹ Christopher Weeks An Architectural History of Harford County, Maryland, (Johns Hopkins University Press: 1996), p. 147.
² Harford Historical Bulletin (The Historical Society of Harford County, Inc.: Number 28, Spring 1986, reprinted March 2002) p. 35-36.

Back to Bygone Covered Bridges

Maryland Covered Bridges
Email me: mdcoveredbridges@comcast.net