The Gilpin’s Falls Covered Bridge, that relic from another era, is no stranger to hurricanes and it just endured another one. Tropical storm conditions battered Cecil County over the weekend as Irene passed just off the Maryland Coast. That blast dumped over 7-inches of rain on an already soaked county as wind gusts up to 62-miles-per-hour whipped the area. But by Late Sunday afternoon, the sun emerged, the wind died down, and Cecil started dusting itself off. As people came out to clean up from Irene, the Northeast Creek, the usually quiet stream the aging survivor spans, overflowed its banks so curious crowds stopped to look things over. Small groups huddled near the 1860s bridge observing the swollen, rushing waters and looking over the soaked scene.
A strong, old hand at weathering these types of storms, the Burr arch wooden bridge came through it in fine shape just as it has for centuries. It was there in October 1954 when Hazel brought hurricane force winds to the state and it survived the likes of Floyd, and Agnes, when those two storms flooded the Eastern Shore. Then there was the Great Labor Day Hurricane deluge of 1935, which swamped northeastern Maryland. There were plenty of others in the 19th century too.
It has survived the test of time and is a local preservation success story as it also endured a storm of another kind. This one involved the county commissioners and editorial writers at the Cecil Whig, arguing against its preservation. Yes, Cecil’s bridge to the past is a definite survivor.