I moved to Baltimore in the fall of 2012 for nine years. I have since moved back to Chester County, and I often find myself asking people what happened to “this restaurant” or “that store.” Downingtown, in my opinion, has always had a unique charm, but it has undergone a good bit of revitalization in the last decade. From the “Mickey Rooney” Tabas Hotel made into a senior living facility to the old paper mill turned into a restaurant, hoagie shop, and condo, and finally, the old Downingtown Fire House converted into East Branch Brewery Company. I think the idea of retrofitting is great. It keeps a few old memories blended with a fresh aesthetic and new use.
So that brings me to one of the biggest monuments of Downingtown, the Trestle Bridge. It is sort of a gateway into Downingtown via route 322 from West Chester. It has quite a history (see the link below for more info on the bridge). Trains stopped running there in the late 80s, and slowly it has fallen apart to the point that they put a “diaper” on it. This net suspended from the bridge is meant to catch falling debris and rocks. I would like to see a makeover for this architectural giant wonder. I heard years ago about the rails-to-trails project and thought it was an ingenious idea (see the link below for more info on rails-to-trails). The Chester Valley trail runs from King of Prussia to Exton. I think it would be progressive to see this project extend through the Trestle Bridge and connect the Chester Valley trail system to Downingtown. A new trail with some type of safety fence around it across the old bridge would give hikers breathtaking views of Downingtown and the surrounding areas. The parks system has done an incredible job with the East Branch Brandywine park, which just happens to be below the Trestle Bridge. I would like to see the same care given to the bridge.
Photo by Downingtown Area Historical Society, https://bit.ly/3v8a4Np.