Upstate NY & NJ

Upstate New York was one of the most important markets for the King Bridge Company, starting from the first years of operation in the 1860s through to the early 1920s. Mr.J.W. Twiss of Cortland was the company’s first agent in the area. He started the process through which the company obtained contracts for many different types of bridges from bowstrings to through and pony trusses, to moveable bridges and beam girders and viaducts for the railroads. It is now the location of a number of successful preservation efforts, along with some projects that may or may not work. The PRESERVATION Section of this web site along with the Railroad, Moveable Bridges, and New York Report in the HISTORY section provide additional detail on the bridges listed below.

THE BOWSTRINGS

1. The Spile Three Span Bowstring -1874- Depeyster, St. Lawrence Co.

This well preserved three span,300 foot bridge was moved from its original location in Ogdensburg to a more remote location over Black Lake. Zenas King grew up and went to school in DePeyster. The bridge is almost within sight of the cemetery where some of the King family are buried. It still carries light traffic and has been rehabilitated and placed on the State’s Historic Bridge Inventory.

2. The Grasse River Bowstring*1870– Canton, St Lawrence County

This bowstring has been rehabilitated to serve as the entrance to a new park built on islands in the Grasse River. The State of New York gave the Grasse River Heritage Area Development Corporation grants of $195,755 to develop to park, including the bridge rehabilitation in the first phase.

3. The Stuart Road Bowstring* 1877 –Chili Mills, Monroe County

In 2002, the Monroe County Highway Department repaired this bowstring to serve pedestrians visiting the charming Chili Mills historical complex run by the Wilcox family. It is one of the oldest iron bridges in Western New York.

4. The Beech Road Bowstring* 1873 – Newfield, Tompkins County

Local citizens with help from Historic Ithaca took responsibility for fixing up this little bowstring in 2004 which for years has served as a major route for school children to cross the west branch of the Cayuga Inlet. It still has one of the oldest King Bridge Company builder’s plates. http://www.newfieldbusinessassoc.homestead.com/KingBridge.html

5. The Elmwood Cemetery Bowstring, 1870s – Schachticoke, Rensselaer Co

THE TRUSS BRIDGES

6. East Town Line Bridge- 1879- Arcadia, Wayne County

This is probably one of two truss bridges built by the King Bridge Company in Arcadia and is located near the Aldrich Change Bridge, which was rehabilitated by a group of energetic local citizens. Hopefully this group will be able to turn its attention to restoring this decaying bridge in the near future.

7. Wellsbridge Through Trusses – 1886 – Unadilla, Otsego County

When a new highway bridge was built across the Susquehanna River, the two trusses of the old bridge were left in place and now serve as a pedestrian crossing and view spot for river activities.

8.. Gilbertsville Pony Truss – 1880 – Unadilla, Otego County

This pony truss is still in use on a town road.

9. The Pony Truss at Buttermilk Falls – 1881– Tompkins County

This little bridge on Sandbank Road is a viewpoint for Buttermilk Falls.

10. Pony Trusses on Overlook Mountain*– 1887- Woodstock, Ulster County

These trusses were once part of a bridge across Black Creek in Byron, New York and were purchased by the Sloan family in 1999 from a doctor who had acquired them instead of accepting a fee. They now serve as the entrance to a nature trail on land on Overlook Mountain donated to the Woodstock Land Conservancy by the family.

MOVEABLE BRIDGES

11. The Bridge Street Bridge – 1880 – Piermont, Rockland County

This is a small but unique lift bridge crossing Sparkill Creek, a Hudson River inlet, has not escaped the notice of local officials of Rockland County who have put up $760,000 for a complete overhaul of the structure. It serves as a bicycle and pedestrian crossing near the center of this picturesque town.

RAILROAD BRIDGES

12. The Rosendale RR Viaduct# – 1895 – Ulster County

This imposing 975 foot steel trestle was built for the Wallkill Valley Railroad to replace an earlier structure and is featured in the King Bridge Company’s 1898 catalogue. When the railroad was abandoned, its property was acquired by an abutting landowner, the viaduct by a railroad enthusiast who has converted it into a hiking trail with spectacular views over Rondout Creek toward the Hudson River. (See HISTORY – Railroad Special for more details)

13. The Deck Truss ( Up-Side-Down )Bridge – 1902- Lockport, Niagara County

This bridge built for the New York Central Railroad in 1902 is still used occasionally for freight and excursion trains and plays an important role in the development of this historic site on the Erie Canal. (See 2005 UPDATE and NEW 1/10/05, 2/13/05 & 10/29/05 for more details)

14. The HOJACK RR Swing Bridge* – 1905- Rochester, Monroe County

This is the last known railroad swing built by the King Bridge Company and was in use by CSX until the mid 1990s. Now it faces removal under the orders of the Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Coast Guard. There is a valiant band of citizens try to stave off the demise of the bridge, which could easily be incorporated into the future development of Rochester’s Genesee River and Lake Ontario waterfront.

RAILROAD BEAM GIRDERS

There are a number of beam girders bridges, the mainstay of the company’s business after 1900, still in place and in use in the state. Pictured below is

15. Norfolk and Southern Railway in Elmira, built by the King Bridge Company in 1905 and still in use .

Similar railroad girders are still in operation in;

15. Auburn -1912

16. Rochester- 1918.

NORTH/CENTRALNEW JERSEY
Mercer County and Hopewell Township have made the effort to restore two old King through truss bridges rather than replace them and, along with the restored “New Bridge” at the Steuben House Historic site in River Edge, Bergen County, they join the ranks of bridges that will last a while longer.

The “New Bridge” at River Edge –1889 swing bridge – Bergen County

This is a 110 foot Pratt swing bridge built by the King Bridge Company to the design of a Joseph W. Stagg. It is on the National Register of Historic Places and is owned by Bergen County, which rehabilitated it some years ago to serve as a pedestrian crossing over the Hackensack River. It connects to the headquarters of the Bergen County Historical Society at Steuben House, an important historical site dating to the War of Independence. It may be the oldest movable King bridge still standing.

The Bear Tavern Road Bridge – 1882 – Hopewell Twp., Mercer County

This half hip Pratt truss carries a relatively high volume of auto traffic for an old bridge, the oldest in the County. It remained in good enough shape for the County to have recently made repairs to the flooring to keep it in operation

The Mine Road Bridge – 1885 – Hopewell Twp., Mercer County

This is also a half hip Pratt truss that still carries vehicular traffic even though it has had little structural alteration. It is the second oldest bridge in the County, and with the Bear Tavern Bridge, much valued by the local citizenry.

EASTERN PENNSYLVANIA

10. Robert Johnson of Easton, Pennsylvania reports that a local historian has found pictures of the construction of an elegant 1889 King through truss bridge that was included in the company catalogues of the early 1890s and shown below. Sadly, it is no longer standing.

Mt. Carbon Bowstring (Schuylkill River) Montgomery County

 

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