The recent listing of Hellertown’s historic Pony Bridge on the National Register of Historic Places will be the focus of a special event hosted by the Hellertown Historical Society in October.
The ceremony will be held Saturday, Oct. 14 at noon at the bridge, which rests on property along Walnut Street that is owned by the Borough of Hellertown and leased to the historical society.
Built circa 1860 in Bethlehem by the Beckel Iron Foundry and Machine Shop, the Pony Bridge has also been known as Wagner’s Bridge and the Walnut Street Bridge over the years.
One of the oldest surviving all-metal bridges and the only high truss span known to exist in the country, bridge historians have identified it as “one of the rarest and most important historic bridges in the United States.”
The bridge fell into disrepair in the late 20th century, after the current Walnut Street Bridge was built in the early 1970s, and likely would have been lost to the ravages of time had it not been for a multi-year restoration effort by historical society volunteers who partnered with Lehigh University graduate engineering students to preserve the structure in the late 1990s.
Closed to all but foot traffic, the Pony Bridge today provides a scenic backdrop for events held throughout the year by the Hellertown Historical Society at the nearby Heller-Wagner Grist Mill.
It is also visible from a trailhead along the nearby Saucon Rail Trail, which crosses Walnut Street just east of where it sits.
For more information about the bridge and other ongoing efforts to preserve the borough’s history, visit the Hellertown Historical Society’s website.