Eight Arch Stone Bridge to get some needed repairs

by Karen Sangillo

The Warwick Township Historical Society received a $30,000 Keystone Historic Preservation Grant Award in June. The money will be used to repair the Eight Arch Stone Bridge, also known as the Bridge Valley Bridge and Pettit’s Bridge. The bridge crosses the Neshaminy Creek above Hartsville. It is the only remaining eight-arch bridge in Pennsylvania. The bridge, on an abandoned spur of Old York Road, spans the Neshaminy Creek at Bridge Valley in Warwick Township.

For 165 years, it carried traffic on the main road connecting Philadelphia with New York. Built in 1804, the bridge was in continuous use until the 1970’s, when it was decommissioned by PennDOT. Route 263 had a new bridge and the Eight Arch Bridge was no longer necessary. Since then, it’s been deteriorating as lack of funding prevented the historical society, which owns the bridge, from doing necessary repairs. That’s changed, thanks to the grant as well as a guarantee of a match of $30,000 put up by the historical society. 

“It’s a monument to the history of bridge building,” said Dave Mullen, immediate past president of the Warwick Township Historical Society. “It’s iconic. It’s been featured in magazines, and photos of it are featured in a lot of Bucks County tourist information because it’s gorgeous. It’s one of those places that everyone recognizes.”  

The historical society has been monitoring the condition of the bridge and noticed delamination of the stone veneer, which is rough ashlar. There are also some holes and bulges that need to be addressed and rubble to be removed.  The bridge was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984 and is accessible to the public 365 days a year, serving as a focal point for hiking and fishing. It is proposed as the link between the north and south banks of the Neshaminy Creek for the future Neshaminy Greenway Trail.

It is one of the county’s oldest standing structures of public architecture. The historical society took ownership of the bridge in 1993 from the Bucks County Conservancy. 

“We’re very excited to make the repairs,” Mullen said. “As a non-profit, we just weren’t able to keep up with the costs of maintaining the bridge.”

In addition to the bridge, the historical society administers and maintains the Moland House, headquarters for George Washington and the Continental Army for 13 days in 1777. The historical society has had plans for the repair since 2017, but previously didn’t have the funds. These repairs will allow the site to be used more safely for the community at large. 

Once the grant is finalized, there is a two-year window for the work to be completed. The grant should be finalized in the fall. Masons with the skill for proper historical restoration will do the work. 

PHOTO CAP: Eight Arch Bridge

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