Friday, August 8, 2014

PA Memories: Kinzua Bridge by Amy K. Radford

Kinzua Bridge after It Fell
photo by Amy K. Radford
My mother grew up in the small town of Smethport, the hub of McKean County, PA. Every so often, we would make the four-hour drive in our yellow Chevy wagon to visit her hometown and family. In the days before technology, the drive was filled with music and games like counting pumpkins, Christmas lights, cows or white houses. Once the Quaker State eternal flame came into view, we knew were close.

A family tradition on those visits was to pack the family into my grandparents’ red and white striped van and go to Kinzua Bridge in Mt. Jewett, PA.

Kinzua Bridge is a part of a state park and was once known as the longest and tallest railroad structure in America, at 2,053 feet long and 301 feet high. It was a touring structure that spread across a great chasm that both excited and terrified us. We would walk all the way across the bridge, trying not to look down through the wood ties into the valley below.

Other times we choose the exploration option. We hiked a trail down to the valley that allowed you to go under the bridge. Looking up from the ground caused us to realize how tall it really was.

In 2003, a tornado caused the bridge to be partially destroyed and many of us who had enjoyed this beautiful bridge were devastated. It had been such a special place to go with my family. 

10 years later I was able to visit the bridge again and was amazed at what they were able to do with the sight. The end of the bridge was repaired and a glass platform provideed a view down into the valley. The walkway also allows for amazing views of the Kinzua Valley.  There is also a trail along the side of the valley with a lookout that allows visitors to enjoy a view of the bridge and the surrounding valley.

That is what I love about Pennsylvania. There are little jewels tucked away off the beaten path.  They are where family memories are made and the beauty of the state can truly be enjoyed.

For more information on Kinzua Bridge visit:   
Pieces of Bridge
 on the Ground
photo by Amy K. Radford

The Former Viewing Stand
photo by Amy K. Radford

Amy K. Radford
 Take a look at Amy K. Radford’s terrific blog, Paradoxical Pen. She is a wife, mom of two, aspiring children’s author, and Adirondacks resident.  In addition to her past and current visits to Northwestern Pennsylvania, she’s also spent time in the Scranton area, going to college and working for a few years. Amy enjoys the outdoors, nature and spending time with her family.

1 comment:

  1. This is a very informative article. Thank you for a peek into the past and hope for the future with restorations possible.