Bear Mountain Bridge

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History of the Bear Mountain Bridge

The Bear Mountain Bridge joins Bear Mountain State Park and Cortlandt on either side of the Hudson River in upstate New York. The Hudson Suspension Bridge and New England Railway Company began construction on the bridge’s anchors in the late 1880s. The stock market crashes of the late 1800s halted these plans and the construction permit expired in 1916.

New York State chartered the Bear Mountain Hudson River Bridge Company to complete the bridge in 1922. The board of directors included members of the Harriman and Perkins family, who had successfully lobbied for the creation of Bear Mountain and Harriman State Parks. New York stipulated that the bridge would default to state ownership by 1962.

The bridge opened in 1924. It was the longest suspension bridge in the world at the time, surpassed by the Ben Franklin Bridge in Philadelphia a couple of years later. It was the only automobile crossing on the Hudson south of Albany.

The NY State Bridge authority took ownership of the Bear Mountain Bridge in 1940. The bridge and its original toll house were added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.

The Bear Mountain Bridge Today

The Bridge Authority used this bridge to test out new anti-corrosives on the cables. In 2000 they developed a non-toxic polymer to replace the less effective and ecologically unsound lead paste that was standard until then.

The bridge is also notable for carrying the Appalachian Trail across the Hudson River, via its pedestrian walkways. The first section of the AT was built from Bear Mountain State Park to the Delaware Water Gap in 1923. The other sections were built independently and connected later. So in a way, the Bear Mountain Bridge is also a National Trail.

Bear Mountain Area posts

Location: 12-25 US-6, Highland Falls, NY 10928
Designation: National Register of Historic Places
Date designated/established: November 23, 1982
Date of my visit: October 18, 2020

8 thoughts on “Bear Mountain Bridge

  1. I recall seeing this bridge from the Adirondack Amtrak windows as we travelled between Montreal and New York. It is an impressive structure. Stay well T. Allan

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