Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Our bridge: 100 years of the Bear Mountain Bridge retrospective

“The History of the Bear Mountain Bridge as it Turns 100” special event at the Lincoln Museum
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Dave Mueller
Bear Mountain Bridge. Photo by David Mueller

My Bridge. That’s what I have always called the Bear Mountain Bridge. I know it is not mine, but I like to refer to it as such. Many in Peekskill do. It’s our bridge. It was specifically built just for us. I know that is not the case either, but it sounds good. I always knew I was almost home from anywhere on the other side of the Hudson from the sounds of the rumble strips on the Palisades Interstate Parkway as my mother neared the Bear Mountain Bridge Circle. I would wake up and know that I was almost home. 10 minutes from there, down the twisting and turning of the Goat Trail, and I would be out of the car and into the warm comfortable coziness of my bed.

Bear Mountain Bridge. Photo by David Mueller

The Bear Mountain Bridge is magnificent. It’s beautiful. It‘s a piece of art. Its towering structure demands respect. The views from anywhere around the bridge make you fall in love with it. It is one of the most photographed bridges in the Hudson Valley. And here in Peekskill, we take the Bear Mountain Bridge for granted. We take it for granted that it is so close to home and we have access to the other side of the Hudson in literally just minutes. We take for granted the fact that the bridge only has to be paid in one direction and it is not expensive. We take for granted that once we cross that bridge, we have not one, but two enormous State Parks in Bear Mountain and Harriman that we can have the freedom to hike for miles, back pack, ice skate, ski, play basketball, have a picnic, enjoy a wedding or brunch at the Inn, relax, or enjoy the view from atop Perkins Drive. We take the Bear Mountain Bridge for granted living so close to it. But this Purple Heart bridge next year, on Thanksgiving Day, will officially turn 100 years old! 

Bear Mountain Bridge. Photo by David Mueller

In anticipation of the Bear Mountain Bridge’s birthday, the Lincoln Depot Museum will present “The History of the Bear Mountain Bridge as it Turns 100” this Saturday, December 16th at 2:00pm. In 1924, at a cost of $2.275 million, the Bear Mountain Bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the world and the first Hudson River automobile crossing south of Albany. The completion of the Bear Mountain Bridge ushered in enormous changes to the Hudson Valley and New York including marking the beginning of a golden age of long span bridge building along the Hudson River and throughout the New York metropolitan area. The success of the inventive methods used to create the bridge broke new ground and paved the way for the building of other suspension bridges, such as the George Washington and the Golden Gate. Its construction would even lead to the creation of new roads and parkways throughout New York. 

Bear Mountain Bridge. Photo by David Mueller

To learn more about the fascinating story of how the bridge came to be built, by whom, and how it has served the Hudson Valley over the past 100 years, including rare pictures, join the Lincoln Museum and local historian Frank Goderre, for a discussion of the iconic Bear Mountain Bridge this Saturday at 2pm. The cost is free to Lincoln Museum Members and $10 per person for those who are not. 

To learn more, visit the Lincoln Depot Museum and the NYS Bridge Authority.

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  • Bear Mountain Bridge. Photo by David Mueller

  • Bear Mountain Bridge. Photo by David Mueller

  • Bear Mountain Bridge. Photo by David Mueller

  • Bear Mountain Bridge. Photo by David Mueller

  • Bear Mountain Bridge. Photo by David Mueller

  • Bear Mountain Bridge. Photo by David Mueller

  • Bear Mountain Bridge. Photo by David Mueller

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About the Contributor
As a Peekskill native, Dave is thrilled to be working with the Peekskill Herald showcasing featured calendar events. A 1999 graduate of PHS, he remembers reading and enjoying the original weekly print edition of the Peekskill Herald every Thursday. He especially liked the political stories, local features and sports coverage when it was written by Peekskill Runner columnist Jack Burns who always managed to weave history into the running times. An avid hiker, he enjoys exploring the local trails as well as the concrete ones in his job as a conductor for Metro North Railroad. He’s a former teacher and co-founder of the Friends of the Peekskill Dog Park, where he frequently can be found with his Koda. He’s happy to be part of the Herald’s growth as the source of local news for Peekskill and looks forward to highlighting a few of many of the events and happenings in Peekskill and the surrounding communities. Reach Dave at [email protected]