FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 1, 2003 --
“It’s pretty cool. I can’t wait to see twenty-five of them at the same time,” observed 9 year-old Jordan Barr as he watched the New Year’s Eve test burning of one of the six foot braziers to be used in this year’s Burning of the Bridge Commemoration. The event, to be held June 28, 2003 on the Susquehanna River between Columbia and Wrightsville, will be staged by Rivertownes, PA, USA, a local non-profit organization committed to preserving and promoting the history of Columbia, Marietta and Wrightsville. Rivertownes members from all three towns have been busy preparing for the commemoration.
A small group of onlookers gathered at sunset on New Year’s Eve as a handful of Rivertownes volunteers prepared and then ignited the brazier along the Wrightsville waterfront. The brazier is essentially a large fireplace grate that holds about a quarter of a cord of firewood. Flames from the blaze were easily visible across the river in Columbia and burned for roughly two hours.
This summer, braziers will be placed atop each of the 25 abandoned bridge piers that stretch across the river just north of the Veteran’s Memorial Bridge, Route 462. Rivertownes president Claire Storm indicated that the event would commemorate the 140th Anniversary of the Burning of the Bridge during the Civil War. Encampments of Civil War re-enactors are planned for both ends of the bridge, along with vendors and plenty of food. The Veteran’s bridge will be closed to traffic, so that pedestrians can view the fires from that fine vantage point.
Storm’s son Albert is heading up a group that will deliver the braziers and firewood to the top of the piers, a daunting task for which he is actively seeking volunteers. “I especially need to recruit some community minded boaters to transport us to the piers. We’ve been out a couple of times to survey the locations,” said Storm. “We’ve looked at it in both high and low water situations, and it can certainly be done, and be done safely. It will take a lot of work, but the satisfaction of seeing such an event here in our communities will make it well worth the effort.”
Anyone interested in helping with the commemoration should contact Claire Storm at 684-2489. Boaters are particularly needed, but anyone who enjoys being out on the river could also help.