Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park

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Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

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In 2009, the Poughkeepsie-Highland Railroad Bridge re-opened as the world’s longest elevated pedestrian walkway.

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Originally built in the late 1800s, the railroad bridge was the only Hudson River crossing between NYC and Albany until the Bear Mountain bridge opened in 1924. It was the largest cantilever-truss bridge in the world at the time.

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The bridge provided a valuable connection between the industry of the Northeast and supplies from the Midwest and was used continuously up until 1974 when a fire damaged the Poughkeepsie side of the bridge. It was abandoned and fell into disrepair.

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In the 1990’s, the non-profit organization Walkway Over The Hudson was awarded the deed to the bridge in order to turn it into a linear recreational park.

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The group solicited donations from NY State, the federal government and private donors, restored the bridge and built the walkway. In October 2009, the site was dedicated as a State Historic Park.

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Rail trails were later constructed at either end of the bridge to extend the trails. On the Highland side, the rail trail extends five miles west of the bridge. Free, but limited parking is available at the Highland Station entrance to the rail trail.

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There are volunteer ambassadors stationed at either side of the bridge in kiosks. I was able to purchase a collectible pin at the western kiosk.

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The trail is completely accessible…I saw a man in a wheelchair crossing the bridge.

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Pets and  bicycles are allowed.

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The bridge is 1.28 miles long and there was a nice breeze coming off the river on the hot day that I visited.

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The Walkway Over the Hudson runs parallel to the nearby Mid-Hudson bridge.

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Location: 87 Haviland Rd, Highland, NY 12528

Designation: State Historic Park

Date designation declared: 10/3/2009

Date of my visit: 9/3/2018

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Flag at half-mast for Senator John McCain
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Poughkeepsie
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Looking towards the more rural Highland side of the bridge

Twin Lights State Historic Site

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Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

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After attending the grand re-opening ceremony at the Sandy Hook Lighthouse (see that post here,) I stopped at the Twin Lights State Historic Site on my way back to the mainland.

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At 200 feet above sea level on a steep bluff, the Twin Lights of Highlands have watched over the harbor entrance since 1828.

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Officially named Navesink Lightstation, it was the first in the USA to use Fresnel lenses. The Fresnel lens, through its beehive design, magnifies the light from a small bulb so that it can be seen for miles. The Navesink lights had a range of 22 miles.

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In 1862, the lighthouse was rebuilt, replacing the original structures and is still standing today. Two different shaped light towers are linked by the keepers quarters in the middle. One beacon was steady while the other pulsed, providing a distinctive navigational aid.

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In 1899, Guglielmo Marconi  demonstrated his wireless telegraph from the light station by transmitting reports on the America’s Cup Race off Sandy Hook. The Twin Lights became the nation’s first commercial wireless telegraph station.

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Technological advances reduced the need for lighthouses and in 1949, the Twin Lights were turned off after 121 years in operation. The State of New Jersey acquired the property and designated it a State Historic Site in 1962.

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I browsed the exhibits in the museum housed in the keeper’s quarters and then climbed the North Tower for some pretty fantastic views. Visitors are allowed out on the caged-in balcony.

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Location: 2 Lighthouse Road, Highlands, NJ 07732

Designation: State Historic Site, NRHP

Date designated or established: 1962

Date of my visit: 9/30/2018

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Absecon Lighthouse State Historic Site

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Welcome back to National Parks with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

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Every October the NJ Lighthouse Society runs the Lighthouse Challenge of New Jersey in order to raise funds for the state’s historic lighthouses and maritime sites. This year, we purchased an incomplete commemorative deck of cards at our starting point and then tried to complete the deck by collecting cards at each of the participating locations. There were 13 sites included in the challenge this year and I got to 5 of them on the Saturday of the challenge.

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For my first stop I visited the Absecon Lighthouse in Atlantic City.  Absecon Inlet was called Graveyard Inlet due to all the shipwrecks that took place there. Jonathan Pitney, the ‘Father of Atlantic City’, pushed for federal funding for a lighthouse to illuminate the dangerous waters.

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The beacon was first lit in 1857. In its heyday, the lighthouse was a popular tourist attraction and the keepers did double duty as tour guides.

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The light was decommissioned in 1933 and went dark for decades. Today, it shines on Atlantic City every night but is no longer an active navigational aid. The tower and keeper’s house were restored in the late 1990s, though the house was destroyed by fire during the renovation and had to be completely reconstructed.

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Absecon Light is a State Historic Site, is on the National Register of Historic Places and is managed by a non-profit organization.

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The  lighthouse is the tallest in New Jersey at 171 feet. It has 228 steps which I know because I climbed them. When I arrived at the top, huffing and puffing, a nice volunteer handed me a card for having made the journey.

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Back down in the keeper’s house I perused the museum displays. I took some pictures outside. And then I hurried off to my next stop in the challenge.

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Lighthouse Challenge and related posts:

  • Sandy Hook Lighthouse
  • Navesink Twin Lights (coming soon)
  • Absecon Lighthouse
  • Tuckerton Seaport (coming soon)
  • Barnegat Lighthouse (coming soon)
  • Barnegat Maritime Forest Trail (coming soon)
  • Barnegat Museum (coming soon)
  • Sea Girt Lighthouse (coming soon)

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Location: 31 S Rhode Island Ave, Atlantic City, NJ 08401

Designation: State Historic Site, NRHP

Date designated or established: 9/11/1970 (NHRP)

Date of my visit: 10/20/2018

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