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Ellwood City-Hazel Dell Bridges - Ellwood City PA

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The first bridge across the Connoquenessing Creek between the settlement of Hazel Dell and what later became known as Ellwood City was this covered bridge. It connected Bridge Street with 4th Street/Glen Ave. It was 180 feet long and built by James McKee in 1858. It sat just above the water and was near the site of Jones Mill – later known as Matheny Mill. The old grist mill was washed away in 1884 and struck but did not damage the bridge. School children from Hazel Dell proper (north side) would use this span to reach the Old Brick School located just nearby on the southern bank of the river. After the new Sixth Street Bridge opened in March 1897 this structure was sold to several men including Isaac Newton. It was torn down in 1898 and the lumber was hauled away for reuse. (c1880)

By the 1890’s discussions concerning where and how to build a new bridge was a source of heated debate. Some folks wanted it built at Sixth Street, while others thought the covered bridge location was the best. Whether to build it at water level – and have roads leading down to it – or way up high to connect to current streets was also fought over. By the fall of 1896 the “high bridge” idea and the Sixth Street location won out. Construction began soon after and the new Sixth Street Bridge was opened in March 1897. It was actually a bridge already in use in Schenley Park that was dismantled and brought to Ellwood City. It connected Sixth Street with College Street on the north bank. (c1905)

Another view of the Sixth Street Bridge, built in 1896, from down along the creek. (c1900) Full Size

The Sixth Bridge as seen from a distance. This postcard was sent to Mrs. E. L. Boyles in Shelby OH in November 1913 and reads, “How are you feeling now? Hope you are better. Isn’t this bridge, etc, pretty? Kind of lonesome here on Sundays. Will be glad when Rev (?) comes. Those shirts are just dandy. Give all my best to grandma. With love, Newt (?)” Full Size

An old postcard of the Sixth Street Bridge, showing the old settlement of Hazel Dell in the background. Hazel Dell was annexed to become part of Ellwood City in June 1914. (c1908) Full Size

Another old photo of a family posing by the Sixth Street Bridge. (c1903) Full Size

It was soon decided to replace the Sixth Street Bridge with a more modern structure. Construction of a new 800-foot steel span on Fifth Street (shown above) began in October 1914. The bridge was opened for traffic in November 1915. (1915)

A view of the completed Fifth Street Bridge – looking north towards Hazel Dell. (c1916)

The Fifth Street Bridge was in use for many years and it was finally slated for replacement in the early 1990’s. Construction of a modern concrete span, which cost about $6.4 million, began just alongside it in September 1994. The new Fifth Street Bridge (shown above), known as The Veterans Memorial Bridge, was opened for traffic in July 1996. The old bridge was torn down soon after. (Dec 2011) Full Size

(Dec 2011)

(Dec 2011)

This aerial photo reveals the locations of the four bridges that have spanned the Connoquenessing Creek between Ellwood City and Hazel Dell. (c2012)


  1. I always thought that there was a bridge at the end of Bridge Street and now the name makes sense too. The 6th street surprises me too. Thanks for the post.


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