Celebrating High Bridge

High Bridge puzzle, published by E. G. Selchow & Co., circa 1867-1880

High Bridge puzzle, published by E. G. Selchow & Co., circa 1867-1880

High Bridge is one of the greatest feats of early American engineering and New York City’s oldest standing bridge. A key part of what we now call the Old Croton Aqueduct, the bridge once carried water across the Harlem River into Manhattan. Although it was built to support large water pipes, it was open to pedestrians and soon after completion in 1848 the bridge became a hugely popular public promenade—thronged by visitors enjoying the views—and a favorite subject for artists and photographers.

After more than 20 years of planning and fundraising by a diverse coalition of organizations High Bridge has been reopened.

To celebrate we’ve assembled a group of images including one of John B. Jervis’s original engineering drawings, 19th century prints and stereoviews, works of art inspired by the bridge, a children’s puzzle and more.

You can learn more about this historic landmark—and plan a visit—here.

Click the images below to enlarge them.

Hidden in the Trees

Sanford Robinson Gifford, American, 1823–1880. Hook Mountain, Near Nyack, on the Hudson, 1866. Oil on canvas. Yale University Art Gallery. Click the image to enlarge it.

Sanford Robinson Gifford, American, 1823–1880. Hook Mountain, Near Nyack, on the Hudson, 1866.
Oil on canvas. Yale University Art Gallery. Click the image to enlarge it.

This magnificent Hudson River School painting, Hook Mountain, Near Nyack, on the Hudson by Sanford Robinson Gifford, shows the view looking west from the southern shores of Croton Point. Hidden in the trees in the foreground is the rooftop and cupola of Richard T. Underhill’s Italianate villa, which he built in 1846 and christened “Interwasser”.

Detail showing the rooftop and cupola of the Underhill mansion on the southern tip of Croton Point. Click the image to enlarge it.

Detail showing the rooftop and cupola of the Underhill mansion on the southern tip of Croton Point.
Click the image to enlarge it.

The image is courtesy of the Yale University Art Gallery, which has made “thousands of images of works in the Gallery’s collection . . . available for free download . . .”

For a similar view from higher up, showing the Underhill vineyards, see this previous post of a wood engraving from Harper’s Weekly.

You should also check out the Hudson River School Art Trail, which includes this painting in an effort to encourage people to “hike in the footsteps of Hudson River School artists . . .” to “see the locations that influenced famous American landscape paintings of the 19th century.”

Croton Point, circa 1869

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This hand-colored engraving, after a painting by William Hart, is from the portfolio Gallery of Landscape Painters—American Scenery published in New York by G.P. Putnam & Sons in 1872.

The view is looking southwest from what we know today as Finney Farm Road. Croton Point is jutting out into the river and the Palisades can be seen in the distance.

William Hart came from a family of artists. His sister, Julia Hart Beers, painted a very similar view of Croton Point. Although the publication of this engraving was 1872, the copyright was 1869—the same year attributed to his sister’s painting. Perhaps they climbed the hill together, each recording the beautiful vistas they saw below.

This image is courtesy of The Old Print Gallery in Washington, D.C., which is offering this print for sale.

Croton Water Celebration, 1842

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Croton Water Celebration 1842. Lithograph, 9 3/4 x 13 inches. New York: J.F. Atwill, 1842 .

This copy is being auctioned at Swann Auction Galleries.

New Croton Dam Cigarette Card

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Card #33 in the Engineering Wonders series of cigarette cards, publishing in the United Kingdom by Will’s Cigarettes.