Around this time last year, our family took a nice day trip to southern York County to see the Norman Wood Bridge, which I’d never been across.
Well, a while after we did that, I got a nice letter from a reader with her own perspective on the bridge, and I found it among some papers on my desk and wanted to share.
It’s from Patricia Frey. She writes:
“I read your article with interest as I, too, am a lifelong resident of York County. My father was born within a mile of the Norman Wood bridge on the York County side. As a child, our parents took my four sisters and brother to visit our grandparents in that area and I have very old childhood memories of those visits and that area. My father was known for his visits to the area, not just to visit his father and stepmother, but he was well known for fishing in the Susquehanna on foot and by boat. He knew the river hills of southern York County like no one as he grew up there, and many told me that when he died.”
She continues: “We live a few miles below Brogue on the Gum Tree Road just about 1/4 mile off Route 74 in Chanceford Township. I was born about two miles from our home on Battle Hill Road, as were all of my five siblings except one, who was actually born in York Hospital. We all attended Battle Hill School — a one-room school house located on Battle Hill Road. The old schoolhouse is no longer there sadly. I attended 8 grades there — I was the only pupil in the eighth grade. That was the last year of Battle Hill School since the following year I went to Red Lion as a freshman in high school and all the other children who attended that school were transferred to Chanceford Elementary School, which opened that year (1958).”
She went on to say: “What struck me about your article — was your description of the area along the Norman Wood Bridge.”
“We now own a seasonal home in Ocean City, Md., where we frequently spent part of our summers since both of us are now retired. I’ve heard many times a description of York County referring to the'”rolling hills of York County.’ Although we do have beautiful farmland here as does Lancaster County — the terrain seems to be more hilly here — more noticeable as you travel the roads where our famous creeks run through — Muddy Creek and Otter Creek. Otter Creek runs through the base of Gum Tree Road not far from my home or the farm where I grew up on Battle Hill Road. I watched the Norman Wood Bridge being constructed, but not nearly as closely as my father did. That forever changed the land on which he spent most of his childhood years through the years of his death. But he welcomed that bridge. Getting back to our drive from Ocean City home to York County — I have told many people last summer that there is no place more beautiful in York County than the land abutting the Norman Wood Bridge from the York County side. As you approach the bridge from the Lancaster County side and drive over the bridge — it is breathtaking. I wanted to take a picture and send to some of my cyber friends to show them just how beautiful York County is at its best and the ‘rolling hills of York County’ as you travel over the bridge to the York County side. I never got my picture taken as they were working on the bridge last summer most of the time repairing it. Hopefully, I will get a picture this year when the leaves are back on the trees on one of our journeys home from Ocean City.”
Patricia, thank you so much for sharing that memory; it really brings the bridge “to life” for me, as it were!