Early Transportation in Dutchess County--Part 5

By James H. Smith

Chapter XI

The Poughkeepsie Bridge Co.

        The Poughkeepsie Bridge Co. was incorporated May 10, 1872, with a capital of $2,000,000 for the purpose of building a bridge for a railroad and common road travel across the Hudson at Poughkeepsie, a project first publicly suggested by Mr. T. G. NICHOLS, in an article in the Daily Press, of Poughkeepsie, of which he was then the editor, dated January 19, 1854, as a means of establishing a direct and expeditious communication between the manufacturing interests of the East and the limitless coal and ore fields of Pennsylvania, Virginia and the West. The charter provided that the work of construction should be begun before JULY 1, 1872, and finished before 1876; that the bridge should be so built as not to obstruct navigation, and at least 130 feet above high tide. No pier was to be built outside the pier limits then established by law. In 1872, the charter was amended, so that the shore abutment of the bridge should not be constructed beyond the river line of the whale-dock property on the east side of the river, nor beyond the river line of the ferry dock on the west side, and the company were permitted to construct and maintain besides the shore abutments, piers of masonry in the river, not exceeding four in number, and distant from each other and the shore abutments not less than five hundred feet. The time limited for the commencement of the bridge was extended toJANUARY1, 1874, and for its completion and opening for use to January 1, 1879. The officers of the company in 1872, were: John F.WINSLOW, President; Robert F. WILKINSON, Secretary; George INNIS, John M. TOUCEY, Matthew VASSAR, Homer A. NELSON, P. P. DICKINSON, Charles WHEATON, Charles W. SWIFT, William A. DAVIES, and Judge ANTHONY; Directors. A meeting of stock-holders was held in Poughkeepsie, September 5, 1873, and a permanent organization was effected as follows: Directors, J .Edgar THOMPSON, Philadelphia, of the Pennsylvania R. R., A. L. DENNIS, Newark, President N. J. R. R. & T. Co., Hon. H. G. EASTMAN, Mayor of Poughkeepsie, and President of Eastman’s National Business College, Andrew CARNEGIE, New York, of the Keystone Bridge Works and Union Iron Mills of Pittsburg, Charles G. FRANKLYN, of New York, Cunard Steamship Co., David SOLOMON, New York, Financial Agent Penn. R. R. Co., Andrew J. CASSATT, Philadelphia, General Manager Penn. R. R., George P. PELTON, Poughkeepsie, President Poughkeepsie and Eastern R.R., P. P. DICKINSON, Poughkeepsie, Chief Engineer, P.& E. R. R., Strickland KNEASS, Philadelphia, Asst. President Penn. R. R. Co., Gardiner F. McCANDLESS, New York, Treas. I. M. & N. R. R. Co.; President, A. L. Dennis; Vice President, H. G. EASTMAN; Treasurer, G. F. McCANDLESS; Secretary, Charles B.THURSTON; Assistant Secretary and Attorney, R. F. WILKINSON. The work of construction was commenced in the summer of 1876, and two piers carried above the surface of the water, in which condition it still remains, doubtful if further work on it will soon be prosecuted. The proposed bridge is to be a magnificent and costly structure. The iron work is to be sixty-four feet in height, above the piers, thus making the total height from the water to the top of the bridge at least one hundred and ninety-four feet. Its construction will necessitate the erection of an independent temporary wooden bridge from shore to shore, at an estimated cost of $400,000. It is proposed to lay the railroad track on the top chord of the bridge. (The Sunday Courier, Poughkeepsie, September 7, 1873; Hough’s Gazeteer of The State of New York, 260; and other documents.)

Typed and submitted by Richard Coon

Back to Town History and Biography Index Page