Accident on the Van Cortlandt Bridge, 1911

In the summer of 1911 the rear wheels of a heavy truck broke through the wooden planks of the Van Cortlandt Bridge—the bridge that once carried the Albany Post Road across the Croton River. The accident took place on the Croton side of the bridge and you can see Van Cortlandt Manor through the trees … Continue reading Accident on the Van Cortlandt Bridge, 1911

Visit to New Croton Dam—February, 1934

In the winter of 1934, members of the Bagley family of Peekskill made a visit to the New Croton Dam, recorded in this series of snapshots. Each has a penned inscription on the back and is stamped with the month and year. The photographs were recently acquired at an estate sale in Cortlandt along with … Continue reading Visit to New Croton Dam—February, 1934

Drive to the New Croton Dam, 1913

In 1913 the Overman Tire Company in New York City ran a test to demonstrate “the ability of Overman cushion tires to withstand the abuse to which tires ordinarily are subjected by the average driver.” A National touring car was outfitted with a set of Overman cushion tires and driven over different routes and road … Continue reading Drive to the New Croton Dam, 1913

Quaker Bridge, Before 1894

Here are two rare photographs of Quaker Bridge, both courtesy of the Westchester County Historical Society. The images show the wooden covered bridge which existed at the site of the current bridge from 1847 to 1894. The metal Pratt truss style bridge we use today—one of the oldest (possibly the oldest) bridges in daily use … Continue reading Quaker Bridge, Before 1894

The Purdy Homestead on Quaker Ridge Road

One of the treats of this Sunday’s 18th Annual Croton Arboretum Garden Tour will be a chance to see the Purdy homestead on Quaker Ridge Road and a group of 100-year-old family photographs, lovingly preserved and made available by local restaurateur Craig Purdy. Today, the property is a magnificent 23-acre estate—no longer in the family—but … Continue reading The Purdy Homestead on Quaker Ridge Road

Quaker Bridge, circa 1914

Postcard of Quaker Bridge, circa 1914, published by Frank L. Simone, who issued postcards of many scenes of the Croton area. This card is postmarked Oscawana, July 28, 1914. Here are two other Simone cards: View from North Highland Avenue Croton Point Beach

The Mystery of the Lost High Bridge Watch

On January 17, 1883 the Troy Daily Times ran an ad for a lost watch that will quicken the heart of anyone fascinated by High Bridge, the covered wooden bridge that once soared above the Croton River. LOST—A small sized hunting cased, gold English watch. On the upper case is an engraving of High Bridge, … Continue reading The Mystery of the Lost High Bridge Watch

Bird’s Eye Views of the Croton Aqueduct, 1879-1887

Here are two priceless “bird’s eye” views of the Croton Aqueduct, made eight years apart during the period when New York City was rapidly outgrowing the capacity of what we now call the Old Croton Aqueduct. One map looks north, showing the burgeoning metropolis in 1879—straining the water supply system with its unrelenting growth. The … Continue reading Bird’s Eye Views of the Croton Aqueduct, 1879-1887

Motoring Across the Croton, 1912

It’s a beautiful day and you’ve decided to take a jaunt in your newfangled automobile, going north along the scenic Hudson River. You can’t count on good, well-marked roads, so you’ve brought along the GPS system of the day—a copy of Photo-auto maps . . . New York to Albany which features “photographs of every … Continue reading Motoring Across the Croton, 1912

August 13, 1841 – “A ride to the Croton Dam”

Here is an account of a trip from Sing Sing to the old Croton Dam that took place 172 years ago today. This is from a wonderful blog that publishes the diary of Julia Lawrence Hasbrouck, who “lived and wrote the majority of her diaries in New York City . . . [and] then moved to a rural community in upstate New York, a transition that her diaries describe as a difficult one.”

096_Page 94Sing.Sing.
Friday. August. 13. teenth. 1841.

A beautifull day, the sun obscured, and a cool
breeze blowing.

Surprised by a visit from Garret, he rode up at
twelve oclock. It was his intention to take Louis, and I home with him, but there was no boat.
At three oclock, we set off to ride seven miles, to see
the Dam at the Croton water works. Our ride was very pleasant the children behaving remarkably well.
The roads are very hilly in this part of the country,
I was afraid to ride down the steep hills. A severe
freshet* last winter carried away all the bridges, so we were obliged to drive through the Croton river, to reach the spot on which the new dam, is about being erected. Four hundred men are daily employed in repairing the dam, and live in huts, on the surrounding hills. Dame nature, seems to have indulged in some wild freaks…

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