LOWER MAKEFIELD, PA – The Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission today announced that its recently completed 1799 House trailhead will be opened for the public’s use starting on Monday, Nov. 25.
The field-stone structure – property records show it dates from the year 1799 – has men’s and women’s lavatories, access ramps compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and an open lobby with the building’s original stone fireplace and wooden mantel. A bicycle rack and benches are outside the building.
The new facility’s primary users are expected to be walkers, runners, bicyclists, and other recreationists using the nearby Delaware Canal towpath or the walkway that is expected to become accessible next summer on the upstream side of the new Scudder Falls Toll Bridge. When fully completed, the bridge’s walkway facility will link Pennsylvania’s Delaware Canal towpath with the Delaware & Raritan Canal’s towpath in New Jersey.
The Commission acquired the 1799 House from private owners in late 2016, one in a series of land purchases made in the lead up to the current 4-1/2-year long Scudder Falls Bridge Replacement Project. The former residence, however, was renovated under an entirely separate project: the construction of a new office building for Commission staff on nearby adjoining 10-acre parcel bordered by the canal, I-295, Taylorsville Road and Woodside Road. The Commission’s new office building opened in September. A previously established park-and-ride lot on that parcel also was resized and rehabilitated under the Commission’s office building project.
The adaptive reuse of the 1799 House – its prior address was 1167 Woodside Road – began during summer 2018. The stone exterior was restored, structural members were replaced, a new metal roof was installed, and the foundation was repaired. The building now has new flooring and new windows. The original internal rafters were exposed above the open lobby. Other improvements include upgraded interior and exterior lighting, and new electrical, plumbing and heating/ventilation/air-conditioning service.
The new facility is expected to be open dawn to dusk on a daily basis, just like the nearby canal towpath. The Commission intends to operate and maintain the restroom facility in perpetuity.