Walkway Over the Hudson: Bridging the Ages

DSCN2608 The  southern view from Walkway Over the Hudson shows the Mid-Hudson Bridge.

Way back in 1889, the Poughkeepsie Railroad Bridge opened,  spanning the Hudson River and linking New York and New England to an extensive railway network for both passengers and freight.

The bridge was considered an engineering marvel of the day, and at one time was the longest bridge in the world. It features seven main spans with a total length is 6,767 feet, including approaches, and the deck is 212 feet above water.

The bridge remained as the only Hudson River crossing soutDSCN2611h of Albany until the construction of the Bear Mountain Bridge in 1924. Throughout World War II, the  Poughkeepsie bridge carried troops to be shipped overseas. At the zenith, 3,500 train cars crossed the bridge on a daily basis.

And now, after decades of inactivity following a fire in 1974, the bridge has been transformed into the Walkway Over the Hudson, the world’s longest elevated pedestrian bridge and a New York State Historic Park. The Walkway provides access to the breathtaking Hudson River landscape for pedestrians, joggers and bicyclists.

And what an incredible view, more than 200 feet above the river. Vistas everywhere, from the Mid-Hudson Bridge and Poughkeepsie skyline to the south, to the bluffs of the Hudson and the Catskill Mountains to the north, shown below. Priceless.

The World in 1889
The world was a lot different in 1889, some 120 years ago, when the Poughkeepsie Railroad BriDSCN2601dge first opened. That year for instance, President Grover Cleveland signs a bill admitting North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana and Washington as U.S. states, before turning over the reins to Benjamin Harrison.

That same year, The South Fork Dam collapsed in western Pennsylvania, killing more than 2,200 people in the Johnstown Flood.

Meanwhile, the Coca-Cola Company was incorporated in Atlanta. The Wall Street Journal was established in 1889, and Herman Hollerith received a patent for his electric tabulating machine, an early precursor to the computer.

In the world of sports, there was no NFL and no Stanley Cup. And basketball was still just a gleam in the eye of James Naismith. The first Olympics, in Athens, was still seven years away.

In 1889, the New York Giants, leaders of the National League defeated the Brooklyn Bridegrooms of the American Association,  6 games to 3, in an exhibition series for the championship of baseball. Dan Brouthers of the Boston Beaneaters hit .373 to win the National League batting title, while Tommy Tucker of the Baltimore Orioles led the AA with a .372 average. John Clarkson of Boston and Bob Caruthers of Brooklyn won 40 games apiece to pace their respective leagues.

As trains rumbled over the Poughkeepsie Railroad Bridge, shown above, Spokane won the Kentucky Derby, Willie Renshaw took the last of his seven Wimbledon crowns, and Willie Park Jr won British Open in a playoff.

And undefeated Princeton won 10 games to win the college football championship (there was no playoff system in 1889 either fans).

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4 Comments on “Walkway Over the Hudson: Bridging the Ages”

  1. Marta Decker says:

    Great post, Rick… Beautiful pix. Hope you’re doing well these days. Looks like the Sportslifer is, for sure!!

    • sportslifer says:

      Thanks Marta. Hope you’re doing well too. You have to check out the Walkway, it’s spectacular. Can’t wait to get back there.

  2. Brian Mulhall says:

    I always enjoy “the rest of the story”, the history surrounding the event you provide Rick. Keep up the great writing.

    • sportslifer says:

      Thanks cuz. The Walkway is really quite amazing. Sometimes I struggle a bit with the link to sports….with this particular blog I figured looking back 120 years to 1889 might give the story a unique twist. Glad you enjoyed it.


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