Turning Back the Pages

100 Years Ago - April 1913

Time before memory began

Since the big bridge between Glens Falls and South Glens Falls went crashing into the turbulent Hudson River on March 27, 1913 before hundreds of onlookers, there has been much interest among historians about a previous bridge, the first bridge to ever cover that gorge. So many years have passed that nobody could be found who even remembered ever having seen it.

Eventually in Glens Falls a rare engraving by created in 1825 by a French artist, was found in the possession of C.H. Sherman of Bay Street and it is currently on exhibition in the department store window of B.B. Fowler in Glens Falls.

The bridge in the sketch is thought to be the first built over the Hudson River located near where the recent and more modern bridge went down. The Frenchman made a series of early sketches along the Hudson from Hadley south to Newburgh.

This first old wooden bridge was depicted as just wide enough for a team to pass over. It was cheaply constructed, the abutments being made of logs. The structure was evidently a toll bridge, as the toll house can be seen in the middle of the span. The date of its erection isn’t common knowledge.

In the old days the banks on both sides of the falls were lined with trees. The present site of the International Paper Co. plant was a forest and there was a large number of trees where Finch, Pruyn & Co.’s mills now stand. There were only a few houses in the vicinity as seen from the engraving.

A mill, perhaps a saw mill or a grist mill is shown on the South Glens Falls side of the river. By 1828 the village had no more than 300 or 400 inhabitants.

Readers are welcome to contact Adirondack Journal correspondent Jean Hadden atjhadden1@nycap.rr.com or 623-2210.

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