The Bridge Builders

The Bridge Builders (HM1OJ1)

Location: Highland Falls, NY 10928 Rockland County
Country: United States of America

N 41° 19.207', W 73° 59.282'

  • 0 check ins
  • 0 favorites
The men who built the Bear Mountain Bridge had completed some of the most challenging construction projects of the period. Connected by educational institutions, bridge and engineering companies, and previous projects, all had risen through the ranks to the tops of their professions. Under their guidance, the bridge was built with unusual speed, at comparatively minimal cost, and without the loss of a single life. Techniques they developed during construction ushered in a golden age of suspension bridge design.Bridge DesignHoward Baird designed the Bear Mountain Bridge at the request of Frederick Tench, with whom he had worked on previous projects. Baird's design documents allowed Terry & Tench Construction Co. to estimate costs, present the project to the Harrimans, and secure a construction contract. Baird had worked his way up from draftsman to chief engineer at the Phoenix Bridge Company, Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company, and the highly-regarded engineering firm Boller, Hodge & Baird.Construction OversightBaird worked alongside the Bear Mountain Hudson River Bridge Company's chief engineer, Wilson F. Smith, consulting engineer William H. Burr, and Major William A. Welch, general manager and chief landscape engineer of the Palisades Interstate Park Commission.W. H. Burr was considered one of the greatest engineers of the post-Civil War era. He was a professor of engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Harvard, and Columbia University. He was also an internationally known consulting engineer, associated with such projects as the Holland Tunnel, the old Croton Aqueduct, the Panama Canal, and numerous other bridge projects, including the George Washington Bridge. Burr knew Howard Baird from the Phoenix Bridge Company and had consulted on bridge projects for Bolier and Hodge.Wilson Smith, a student of W. H. Burr, was a graduate of the Columbia University's School of Mines. He had worked on numerous projects for the New York City & Hudson River Rail Company and the New York Rapid Transit Commission. He also supervised construction of the Kensico Dam and related structures.William A. Welch was the general manager and chief landscape engineer of the Palisades Interstate Park Commission (PIPC). Responsible for unprecedented beautification and development at Bear Mountain and Harriman State Parks, Welch also designed the scenic Storm King Mountain Highway. He began the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference, chaired the fledgling Appalachian Trail Conference, and was a founder and first president of the National Council of State Parks.Steel FabricatorsHoward H. McClintic began the McClintic-Marshall Construction Company (M-M) in 1900 with his Lehigh University engineering classmate Charles D. Marshall. Over the next 30 years, M-M became the largest independent steel manufacturing firm in the country.Steel ErectorsFrederick Tench was an early sponsor of the bridge plan and helped secure financing for the project. He and Edward F. Terry became close friends while building bridges for the Union Bridge Company and Union Pacific Railroad. Attracted to large projects in New York City, they formed the Terry & Tench Construction Company in 1895. Five years later, it was the most successful steel construction firm in the country.Suspension CablesThe construction of cables for the Bear Mountain Bridge marked a turning point in the history of parallel wire cable fabrication. New theories, rigidly field-tested during construction, proved extremely successful and made it possible to develop cables of almost any diameter and number of wires.Holton D. Robinson was an authority on bridge-cable construction and held many patents for cable improvements. He built the first huge cables that made long suspension bridges possible. At Bear Mountain Bridge, he perfected a wrapping for cable strands and machinery for binding the cables with wire, enabling the bridge to be constructed at unusual speed.Washington A. Roebling, the 87-year-old president of the famous cable construction firm John A. Roebling's Sons, directed the production of Bear Mountain Bridge's 18-inch cables. Educated at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, he built bridges for the Union Army during the Civil War and had assisted his father on the construction of several early railroad suspension bridges. After his father's death, he became chief engineer of the Brooklyn Bridge. Incapacitated while working on that bridge, he was an invalid for ten years, but remained actively engaged in cable construction with assistance from his wife, Emily. Roebling, Charles Sunderland (the company's chief engineer), and Holton D. Robinson developed and tested new cable spinning theories and methods in erecting Bear Mountain Bridge.
HM NumberHM1OJ1
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Sunday, October 11th, 2015 at 1:01am PDT -07:00
Sorry, but we don't have a picture of this historical marker yet. If you have a picture, please share it with us. It's simple to do. 1) Become a member. 2) Adopt this historical marker listing. 3) Upload the picture.
Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18T E 584695 N 4574787
Decimal Degrees41.32011667, -73.98803333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 41° 19.207', W 73° 59.282'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds41° 19' 12.42" N, 73° 59' 16.92" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)845
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling West
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 12 US-6, Highland Falls NY 10928, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

Is this marker missing? Are the coordinates wrong? Do you have additional information that you would like to share with us? If so, check in.

Check Ins  check in   |    all

Have you seen this marker? If so, check in and tell us about it.

Comments 0 comments

Maintenance Issues
  1. Is this marker part of a series?
  2. What historical period does the marker represent?
  3. What historical place does the marker represent?
  4. What type of marker is it?
  5. What class is the marker?
  6. What style is the marker?
  7. Does the marker have a number?
  8. What year was the marker erected?
  9. Who or what organization placed the marker?
  10. This marker needs at least one picture.
  11. Can this marker be seen from the road?
  12. Is the marker in the median?