New Croton Aqueduct Map, 1884


This is a detail of the Croton area from the map The Route of the New Aqueduct from Central Park to Croton Dam . . . prepared by the Aqueduct Commission in 1884. The route of the new aqueduct tunnel is the dark straight line, running diagonally across the bottom from Croton Dam.

One of the many interesting things about this map is that the New Croton Dam—then in the planning stages—is shown at the Quaker Bridge location. For more information on the Quaker Bridge Dam, see here.

Another fascinating aspect of the map is that it shows two bridges across the lower Croton River that didn’t actually exist in 1884, when the map was made. Moving from left to right the bridges shown are:

  • Hudson River Railroad Bridge, built in 1859, which was definitely there in 1884.
  • The Van Cortlandt Manor Bridge, which spanned the mouth of the river and went up the road where Shoprite is today, had several incarnations and was there when this map was made. “Long Bridge” was built in 1871 and “Wagon Bridge” in 1898. New York State eventually removed the old span, replacing it with the “Van Cortlandt Bridge” in 1922. This was the main route into Croton for more than 40 year until it was demolished in 1964—despite protests from villagers.
  • Highland Turnpike Bridge is next and was long-gone by 1884. This bridge was first built circa 1812 as part of the Highland Turnpike, which ran through the Hudson Highlands. Because bridge construction was still primitive in the early 1800s bridges tended to wash out due to severe storms or spring freshets. Indeed, in 1836 the New York Legislature reported that “the bridge over the Croton river upon [the Highland Turnpike] has been entirely carried away.”
  • High Bridge, the covered bridge that was built high above the river, is another ghost bridge on this map. It collapsed in 1879. (Details here).
  • Quaker Bridge was definitely there in 1884 and would have been dwarfed by the dam behind it, that the New York Sun in 1888 called “The Biggest of All Dams . . . the Gigantic Structure at Quaker Bridge.”

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