Cecil’s Bridge to the Past: Valued Federal Dollars Come Home to Help Save Gilpin Falls

Gilpin Falls covered bridge about 1910

Stony Run covered bridge, one of many in Cecil County.


As many of you are aware the county recently obtained a $1-million dollar grant from the federal Covered Bridge Preservation Program. Soon after that was announced the Whig in an editorial called, “Cecil’s own little bridge to nowhere” suggested that the county make a “symbolic gesture” by refusing to accept the grant. Also Commissioner Tome voted against the grant, while the other commissioners voted in favor. 

As regular readers to Someone Noticed are aware we strongly favor preservation. In this case, federal dollars from a dedicated source are going to substantially aid the county in saving this centuries old cultural resource. By refusing to accept the funding, all we will do is make sure more help is available for another county. It’s one thing to argue that such programs shouldn’t exist, but as long as they do we should accept our share, since Cecil Countians contribute to the levy. Of course, we see value in these types of preservation funding streams and would argue about their value. 

Below you will find a letter to the editor outlining our position. Whig letters may contain no more than 250 words, so you’re always limited in how points can be developed. 

For a fuller piece on the covered bridge preservation effort click on this link

—– Letter to the Editor – Cecil Whig

A Whig editorial questioned whether the county should accept a million dollar grant to restore the Gilpin Falls Covered Bridge. In response, I say we should since county taxpayers contributed their dollars to this federal program, which will be used somewhere for preservation projects. If we do not, others will willingly use our money to restore their bridges. 

Beyond that, preservation is important. The county puts a lot of effort into marketing Cecil to tourist, relocating BRAC workers, and higher-end corporations. Our natural beauty, historical character, and cultural resources are things these target groups find most appealing here. 

There has also been a private partnership. Earl Simmers has worked hard to ensure that this old structure is not lost to age or neglect. Spearheading a private fund drive that has collected over $17,000 thus far, he also seeks out grants and recognition for the structure. 

Since federal restricted funds were going to be used somewhere, it was wise of the county commissioners to bring some of our tax dollars back home. I thank the commissioners who voted in favor of the grant. 

It is one thing to argue that this program should not exist, but as long as we shoulder some of the burden to fund it we should obtain our share. Finally as links to our past quickly disappear in the 21st century in Cecil, historic preservation is a worthy goal.


4 responses to “Cecil’s Bridge to the Past: Valued Federal Dollars Come Home to Help Save Gilpin Falls

  1. Mike, a good article and I agree with what you say.

  2. Richard:

    Thanks for spurring us on to respond to this one too. It was on our mind, but we were a little slow in getting to it. The neighborhing paper, the Kent County News, is a strong friend of preservation down there and in this week’s editon the editor wrote a strong piece about how the county needs to preserve its built and natural environment.

    There are some lesson in that piece for us here too, as our local paper suggests we should refuse to accept a million dollar grant! I also enjoyed the editors point about how the preservation and history groups there need to be better advocates for this quickly disappearing resources. Speaking as an individual, I think that applies here too.

  3. I would like to wish Earl Simmers in his fight to save the OLD COVERED BRIDGE. For the years I knew Earl when he was President of the then Elkton Chamber of Commerce he has devoted his time and a great deal of effort to saving the old bridge. Good luck Earl and my best wishes to you and your family.

  4. Crazy History Teacher


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