In 1851 the local residents living in and around what was known as Covert’s Crossing (or Covert’s Station, Covert’s Mill, Covert’s Ford, etc…), a small rural “settlement” on the Mahoning River about two miles east of Edinburg, Pennsylvania, began petitioning for improved roads to be built to the area. The area was named in honor of the Covert family, who originally came from Holland and settled the area. Of particular prominence was John W. Covert, a well-known local physician who was born in 1837. By the early 1870’s those petitions began asking for a bridge to be built to replace the ford used to cross the river. The area was prone to flooding and it made crossing the river at this point extremely dangerous for horse-drawn wagons. The area, surrounded by farmland, was once the site of a grist mill and served by the Pennsylvania & Ohio Canal (or Cross-Cut Canal – abandoned in 1871) and a stop on the Lawrence Railroad.
The petitions were denied for years until county officials decided by early 1887 to erect a steel bridge at the site. A contract for the project $6,000 was awarded to the Morse Bridge Company of Youngstown, Ohio, in August 1887. The company, founded by two brothers in 1878, was renamed as the Youngstown Bridge Company in c1890. Apparently, as can be seen in some photos, a portion of the old iron Pittsburg Street (East Washington Street) Bridge in New Castle was utilized for southern span of the new structure. The completed one-lane bridge, supported by a single pier and about 300 feet in length, was inspected and officially opened for traffic on September 14, 1888. Flooding remained a constant issue at the bridge, in a location where the townships of Union, Mahoning, and North Beaver come together, and retaining walls were built along the banks in later years. The county-owned bridge underwent periodic upgrades including major overhauls in 1966 and 1973.
The one-lane bridge was in use for over a century until it was decided to replace the aging structure in the late 1990’s. Preliminary soil surveys conducted in 1998-1999, in conjunction with the erection of a new bridge, revealed the remnants of prehistoric artifacts on both banks of the river. Work was halted as archaeological teams were called in to investigate. Eventually as many as 3,000 Native American artifacts, some dating to 1000 A.D., were unearthed from the site.
Within a few years work resumed and the old bridge was closed to traffic on January 6, 2003. It was quickly demolished as work on the new bridge got underway at the same location. The new two-lane concrete span, expected to be completed by early October 2003, would be built at a much higher elevation to avoid the flooding prone to the area. The project was delayed by heavy rains and flooding in June-July, but the new bridge was finally opened on Thursday, November 13, 2003. The bridge carries Brewster/Covert Road over the Mahoning River.
The old bridge was known to be a hotbed of unusual legends and paranormal activity over the years. It was said that if parked on the bridge at midnight and turned off your lights a creepy apparition would appear. Various stories attribute the apparition as the spirit of young girl killed during her prom night, a railroad worker who fell off his train and was decapitated, or a newlywed bride beheaded during a horse and buggy accident. The site, like others in the area referred to as Zombie Land, was known to be a popular hang out for teenagers over the years.
The old Covert’s Crossing Bridge (shown above) was erected across the Mahoning River in 1887-88. The wooden plank surface always made for a memorable crossing. (c1997) Full Size
A portion of the old Pittsburg Street (East Washington Street) Bridge in New Castle was utilized for the southern span of this structure. The one-lane bridge Covert’s Crossing Bridge was in use for over a century it was decided to replace the aging structure with a modern span. (c1997) Full Size
The old bridge at Covert’s Crossing, in a secluded location, was well steeped in unusual legends and reports of paranormal activity. The stories indicate that if parked on the bridge at midnight and turned off your lights a creepy apparition would appear. Depending on what version you hear the stories attribute the apparition as the spirit of young girl killed during her prom night, a railroad worker who fell off his train and was decapitated, or a newlywed bride beheaded during a horse and buggy accident. (c1997)Full Size
In 1998 preliminary work on replacing the old Covert’s Crossing Bridge began. The discovery of ancient artifacts along both banks halted work for several years while archaeologists were called in. As many as 3,000 Native American artifacts were eventually unearthed at the site. The old bridge was finally closed to traffic in early January 2003 and demolished. Work on a new concrete deck bridge (shown above) began immediately and was opened to traffic on November 13, 2003. (Aug 2013) Full Size
(Aug 2013) Full Size
dortheia laughlin #
I can remember going back and forth on this bridge when we would go the the drive in movies in parkstown. One nite when we came back home, there was a line of traffic. a car got off the planks that you had to drive over . so the guys got out of their cars and had to lift the car up and onto the planks. it probably was around 1950 and then they paved the bridge. I was about five yrs old.
Bruce Elias #
I never remember this Bridge Paved. It was the old wooden planks as long as I could remember.
Sam Vastano #
I lived just south of the bridge on Brewster all my non-married life. The bridge was never paved. It went from boards layed flat on the deck with 2 set that went parallel that you drove on to the 1973 re-construction where they layed 2×4’s on edge the whole lenght of the bridge. It was that way until it was demolished.
Kysha Summer Dwyer #
I can remember four of us were in a car and driving across the wooden planks and when we went up on the bridge our friends car pulled to the right of the bridge. We all jerked sideways and screamed. We were silent for a couple minutes after that moment. Lol we all had a heart attack that night!
Jeff Bales Jr #
(EDITOR’S NOTE) I found a few reports that indicate replacing the wooden planks with concrete was in the works. The top few photos above make the surface/deck look like concrete or at least very smooth – unlike adjoining planks. Most local folks with real knowledge seem to indicate that the bridge’s deck was never covered with concrete though. Jeff
Jamie Smith #
I grew up about 2 miles from this bridge in Union Twp. during the 70’s and 80’s, I remember lying awake in bed at night counting the cars that went across. The wooden planks made a loud rumbling sound when a vehicle crossed over it. If it got louder the vehicle was coming into Union Twp. and if the noise faded it was going towards Mahoning Twp. I wished they could have saved that bridge!