Bridge artifacts sought by state

CROWNPOINT-Preparing for the opening of a new Lake Champlain Bridge, state officials are seeking memorabilia about the old one.

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation is appealing to the public to share information about the historic bridge that may be used to develop displays. Photographs, documents, brochures, toll tickets, and signs are being sought.

The agency is responsible for developing interpretive signs, displays and a resource guide to commemorate the 1929 Lake Champlain Bridge.

"OPRHP is interested in hearing from both institutions and individuals in the Champlain Valley that have photographs, documents and memorabilia in their collections associated with the construction, operation and maintenance of the bridge during its 80-year history," said Audrey Nieson, OPRHP interpretive programs coordinator. "If you have any items of this nature, staff from OPRHP are traveling in the Lake Champlain region would like to meet with you. "

The state plan for the 1929 Lake Champlain Bridge identified the installation of interpretive displays at several locations in the vicinity of the bridge as a key commemoration activity.

One of these exhibits will be located at the Toll House/Lake Champlain Visitors Center. OPRHP has proposed that the story at the Toll House focus on the day-to-day operation of the bridge over time.

"Staff are particularly interested in locating photographs of toll collectors in uniform performing their daily tasks and of other bridge staff conducting routine repair and maintenance work, such as painting the bridge, performing electrical work, replacing light bulbs and maintaining the grounds," Nieson said. "With the owners' permission, OPRHP will scan these images for use in the exhibit and provide appropriate credit lines acknowledging private collectors."

People with memorabilia are asked to contact Nieson at 237-8643, ext. 3298 or audrey.nieson@oprhp.state.ny.us

The Lake Champlain Bridge - which served about 4,000 vehicles a day - was abruptly closed in October 2009 when engineers discovered dangerous deterioration of the structure. It was demolished on Dec. 28, 2009.

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