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Hickory Creek Bridge - Willow Grove (New Castle) PA

The Hickory Creek Bridge, a 119-foot reinforced concrete span constructed in 1921, replaced an antiquated wooden bridge at the same location. The bridge carried traffic of old Route 18 across Hickory Creek, near where the Mahoning River, the Shenango River, and Hickory Creek join forces to form the powerful Beaver River just south of New Castle. The bridge is located a bit south of the old Willow Grove Bridge (or Wampum Road Bridge), both of which were bypassed when a new stretch of Route 18, and the new Route 18 concrete bridge, was completed just to the west in 1958. I am not sure when it happened, but the Hickory Creek Bridge was closed to automobile traffic at some point after this. It is located in an isolated area and its closure essentially formed two dead end roads in the once-thriving rural community known as Willow Grove. It’s a shame this small structure, so vital to the history of the local area, has been completely neglected by the state of Pennsylvania. The graffiti-covered bridge is crumbling away and is in danger of collapsing in some areas. Just to the east of the bridge is an old steel railroad bridge that is still in use today.


This photo reveals the site of the Hickory Creek Bridge, which spans the Hickory Creek is located near the much larger Pennsylvania Railroad Bridge. (c2014)


As you head north on Old Rt. 18 (aka Willow Grove Road) you come to this blocked off entrance to the small bridge. (Jul 2010)


A sign near the entrance of the north side of the bridge. (Jul 2009)


Looking south across the small bridge. With the overgrown vegetation and the dirt floor its not easy to recognize you are about to cross a bridge. (Jul 2009)


Looking north across the bridge. The back of the sign in photo #2 is visible straight ahead. (Jul 2010)


The bridge is covered in graffiti. The bridge sits in a remote location and seems to be a hangouts for kids. (Jul 2010)


The side rail covered in vines. (Jul 2010)


Looking east from the middle of the bridge you can see the old railroad span across the Mahoning River near the mouth of Hickory Creek. (Jul 2010)


A view of the side of the overgrown bridge. (Jul 2010)


A good view underneath the old crumbling concrete bridge. (Jul 2010)


Another view of the under side of the bridge. (Jul 2010)


This remote locaton is very peaceful except for the ocassional four-wheelers that cross the bridge. (Jul 2010)


A good view of the whole of the small bridge. (Jul 2010)


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Comment

  1. WHEN I WAS A CHILD IN THE EARLY 60’S WE WOULD SWIM UNDER THE BRIDGE IT WAS VERY COOL UNDER THE BRIDGE ON VERY HOT DAYS. BESIDE THE BRIDGE IS WHERE CLEAVE SAMMS HAD A ONE TIME STORE, WHICH AT THE TIME WE WENT THERE HE ONLY SOLD BOTTLES OF PEPSI FOR A DIME ,,,IT WAS A TREAT. CLEAVE WOULD TELL STORIES OF HOW HE WAS FRENDS WITH THE OUTLAW JESSE JAMES AND HOW THEY WERE FRIENDS. BEHIND THE STORE WAS THE WILLOW GROVE DANCE HALL WHICH WAS BUILT HIGH ON STILTS, HE USE TO HAVE A HUGE PICNIC GROUNDS AROUND THE DANCE HALL. THE ITALIANS FROM MAHONINGTON WOULD COME THERE FOR PICNICS AND DANCES ON SUNDAYS PER THE STORIES OF MY DECEASED FATHER. MY FATHER LIVED ON A FARM ON SUNNY SIDE ROAD WHICH CAME DOWN ALONG THE PICNIC GROUNDS AND ENDED AT THE EDGE OF THE BRIDGE. OUR PROPERTY BORDERED THE HICKORY CREEK. WE WERE BRAVE YOUNG BOYS AND WE WOULD RUN UP THE ARCH OF THE BRIDGE AND RUN DOWN THE OTHER SIDE AND SOMETIMES JUST SIT UP ON TOP OF THE ARCHES AND DRINK THAT BIG BOTTLE OF PEPSI. WE WOULD BUILD A SMALL DAM OUT OF THE ROCKS EVERY YEAR AND MAKE THE WATER A LITTLE DEEPER AND YES WE ALWAYS KEPT A PACK OF MATCHES DOWN THERE JUST IN CASE SOMEONE WOULD COME OUT OF THE WATER WITH A LEACH ON THEM. IT WAS ALWAYS A GREAT FISHING HOLE TOO! WILLOW GROVE WAS A GREAT NEIGHBORHOOD WITH GOOD PEOPLE AND ALL WERE FRIENDS. IT WAS NOT RARE AT THAT TIME SOME OF THE WOMEN WOULD FEED SOME OF THE HOBOS THAT WOULD WALK UP FROM THE RAILROAD TRACKS .THERE WERE MANY A GOOD TIMES AND AWESOME MEMORIES DOWN THE GROVE. THERE ARE STILL SOME OF THE SAME FAMILIES LIVING THERE, JUST DIFFERENT GENERATIONS.

    BLAINE STACHOWIAK · 02/18/2014 09:44 PM · #