Bridge Valley, Pennsylvania

How did Bridge Valley, Pennsylvania get it’s name? This page provides a brief history about the naming of Bridge Valley, Pennsylvania, the people who settled it, and the industry rising within it.

Village in northwestern Warwick Township near Buckingham Township line on Old York Road (Route 155) and on Neshaminy Creek. It is well named from the fine eight-arch stone bridge carrying the York Road over the creek. The bridge was built in 1795 and is the oldest structure of its kind in the county. It was built by the county, became the property of the Hartsville and Centerville Turnpike Company when the pike was opened for travel in the summer of 1857, and was turned over to the State upon the dissolution of the turnpike company December 15, 1904. The village has one of the most charming locations to be found in the Neshaminy valley. Standing at the head of Sugar Bottom, broad open meadows extend from the creek bank to the hill crossed by York Road. This hill extends from a half mile above Bridge Valley to Ewers Mill, a half mile below the village, and is quite picturesque throughout. The village stands on the eastern part of the great Rodman tract in ancient Warwick. As early as 1712 Dr. John Rodman, of Burlington, N. J., owned a part of this tract, and his sons, John and William, before the Revolution possessed 5000 acres along Neshaminy Creek, reaching from the present Ewers Mill to a point a half mile beyond Edison. The old stone tavern, a building erected in three sections, still stands along York Road to the south of Ryan’s Mill. It has been made an attractive place by a purchaser who in its restoration preserved most of its colonial quaintness. Originally it occupied a 93-acre tract which, in 1782, Joseph Rodman sold to Richard Courson, but a house had been built upon it prior to the Revolution. Courson sold the premises in 1787 to Elnathan Pettit, who opened a public house, and the place soon became known as Pettits Corner. Pettit afterwards became landlord of the Fountain House, Doylestown. Bridge Valley tavern changed hands many times. One of its prominent landlords was Samuel Fries. It lost its license prior to 1876. Thomas H. Ewer had a clock and watch shop in the village in 1860. During the 1860-1870 decade Bridge Valley had a store, hotel, wheelwright and blacksmith shop, grist and saw mills, and was a place of considerable business importance. The mill, lately known as Ryan’s mill, was a conspicuous landmark for more than 150 years. It was built soon after 1773 by Andrew and Charles McMicken, who had bought the land from the Rodmans. The McMickens built both the stone house and the mill and they operated it for a number of years. It passed through several hands until 1874, when Elwood Bonsall sold it to Isaac and Eliza Ryan. The Ryans made the mill famous. Isaac Ryan widened the scope of his saw mill operations to take in the manufacture of oak bridge plank. He became a large purchaser of timber land and his six-horse log teams were on the roads at all seasons. He became active in politics and was elected County Commissioner for a three-year term, 1881-1884. His son, Isaac Ryan, Jr., managed the saw mill from 1890 until his death, when it was abandoned. The building fell into ruin. The dam across the Neshaminy was neglected until about fifteen years ago, when it was swept away by a freshet. The stone in the old mill walls, taken down in 1940, were used in an unfinished sportsmen’s conservation project to restore the old dam breast. Bridge Valley became a post office August 26, 1865, with William Hutchinson as postmaster. The office was removed to Jamison October 6, 1868, but was restored June 24, 1869, William Harvey becoming postmaster. The office has since been discontinued.

Source: MacReynolds, George. Place Names in Bucks County Pennsylvania, 2nd Edition. Doylestown, PA: The Bucks County Historical Society, 1955.

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