POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. — the Walkway Over The Hudson is getting a new visitors center.
The Walkway was awarded a $500,000 grant through New York State’s Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) program this week, to be allocated toward the planned Eastern Entrance Welcome Center.
The welcome center is expected to be completed by spring 2019 and will feature permanent restrooms, a gathering area for up to 40 visitors, water fountains, benches, lighting, landscaping and other amenities. The welcoming center will cost approximately $3 million and be located adjacent to the park’s east side parking lot and at the juncture between the Walkway State Park and the Dutchess County Rail Trail.
“The Dutchess Welcome Center is another great and much-needed enhancement to Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park,” said Walkway Executive Director Elizabeth Waldstein-Hart.
Whenever I hear about the WALKWAY, I think of old friend, the late Bernie Rudberg from Hopewell Junction. Know a lot of others promoted the Walkway, but Bernie was a great promoter.
The Poughkeepsie bridge is open! The fellow in the yellow jacket carrying a banjo is Pete Seeger.
For 35 years, the ravaged Poughkeepsie-Highland Railroad Bridge awaited a rebirth. Opened on New Year’s Day in 1889, the rail bridge — now the Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park — was the first bridge to cross the Hudson River between Albany and New York City. The 6,768-foot span was used totransport goods, such as coal and grain from the Midwest to New England, for 85 years. Then, in 1974, a fire visible for miles rendered the bridge unusable.
The state Legislature charted the Poughkeepsie Bridge Co. to build the bridge in 1871. At its peak, 1,500 construction workers worked on the bridge daily, according to the Walkway’s mobile Web tour. Much of the construction was done from 1886 to 1888. Eight people died during construction, according to the tour.As many as 3,500 freight and passenger cars crossed the Hudson River span each day, according to Walkway Over the Hudson. But, as the decades passed, use of the bridge declined until only one train crossed per day, according to Journal archives.On May 8, 1974, a 700-foot-long fire charred the east side of the bridge. It was difficult to put out the blaze; the steel pipeline that supplied the bridge with water had burst the previous winter. As debris fell from the bridge during the fire, and igniting smaller fires in the city below, firefighters fought the blaze from the warped deck of the bridge and a ladder underneath. Full story and video.
Some great reference material compiled by Bernie Rudberg.
The Great Bridge at Poughkeepsie
The Poughkeepsie Bridge after the 1974 Fire
Trains no longer run over the bridge; instead it is a walkway. Bernie Rudberg took a great nighttime picture from the walkway. See more about the great Poughkeepsie Bridge.
Connecticut Western Railroad (chartered 1868) ran from Hartford CT to the New York state line, where it was to connect with the Dutchess and Columbia Railroad near Millerton NY. CWRR was reorganized in 1881 as the Hartford and Connecticut Western RR. By summer of 1882, H&CWRR had a route from Hartford to the Hudson River.
The Hudson River, nearly half a mile wide, was the biggest obstacle between H&CWRR and the rest of the United States. Railroads used car floats to get freight and passengers across. In 1871, the Poughkeepsie Bridge Company was chartered to build a rail bridge across the Hudson. As this project neared completion, Hudson Connecting Railroad and the Poughkeepsie Connecticut Railroad were chartered to build rail lines westward and eastward, respectively.
The first train crossed Poughkeepsie Bridge 125 years ago today (12/29/13). In 1889, HCRR and P&CRR were merged to create the Central New England Western Railroad, which then leased the H&CWRR. This system was reorganized in 1899 as the Central New England Railway