Good evening and thank you for visiting The Columbia Bank and Bridge Company where I am the acting Cashier. Trusted by my colleagues, I’ve kept the books nice and tidy since 1835. You will come to find that my extensive background in treasury and community has ensured that I am fit for the position. I have been treasurer of the Reading and Columbia Railroad, director of Wrightsville Railroad, president of the School Board for 10 years, served 2 years as county auditor, and was trustee of the Millersville Normal School. I assure you, I am more than qualified.
I was born in Harrisburg on May 29th of 1797 and received an early education at
various preparatory schools as well as Nottingham Academy in Maryland. Later on I was made Recorder of Patents under John Cochran in 1812, secretary of Land Office and Recorder of Surveys for Andrew Porter. It is known that I have an excellent resume.
Now enough about me, let me tell you about the collective minds behind the operation.
Stephen Smith, Thaddeus Stevens, William Whipper, William Wright. All names that should sound familiar to any Columbian who is familiar with their town’s history. All directors for the Bank and Bridge company. For those of you that are uniformed, allow me to enlighten with our accomplishments. The first covered bridge to span the Susquehanna was completed in 1814 and we instituted the first tolls for all forms of passage.
Nearly a mile long, it was the longest covered bridge in the world at that time.
Unfortunately it fell to the effects of ice, high water, and severe water in February of 1832. Thus, construction of the second covered bridge began.
In addition to constructing bridges, the Bank and Bridge Company also familiarized themselves with the navigation of tunnels, as a participant and safe haven of the Underground Railroad. During the 19th Century, Columbia thrived with various forms of transportation including the ferry, canal system, and of course, our bridge. Reasonably it would also house a secret network of underground tunnels and safe houses as part of the path to freedom for 19th-century slaves. One of those tunnels emerges from the brick walls of the hand dug basement below this building. An incredible piece of history.
Alright, you’re going to have to move along now. I have business to tend to. I suggest you stop by the Odd Fellows Hall if you wish to hear of additional works of nobility.
In 1839, Colonel Samuel Shoch kept the books tidy and became the cashier of the Columbia Bank and Bridge Company. Samuel was born in Harrisburg on May 29th, 1797, and received an early education at various preparatory schools, as well as Nottingham Academy in Maryland. Later on, he was made Recorder of Patents under John Cochran in 1812, secretary of Land Office, and Recorder of Surveys for Andrew Porter.
Stephen Smith, Thaddeus Stevens, William Whipper, William Wright were all directors for the Bank and Bridge company in following years. Additionally, the first covered bridge to span the Susquehanna was completed in 1814 and Columbia Bank and Bridge instituted the first tolls for all forms of passage.
Today, the Columbia Art Printing Company occupies the building.