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Letters to the Editor

The Tioranda Bridge Succumbs

With little notice to the press, an historic bridge is destroyed

tioranda1.jpgOn December 12th, 2006, a section of the Tioronda Bridge spanning the Fishkill Creek in Beacon, NY was cut away from the other bridge sections and removed. I contacted local papers to try and have this disastrous event covered with little immediate result. The “Beacon” Free Press two weeks later, printed a short article with a file photo of the bridge still entact. The Poughkeepsie Journal, (read Poughkeepsie, and you’ll understand why they needed to be prodded and cajoled to write anything about the bridge). By the end of the week, the remaining sections will were removed and sent to storage somewhere in Beacon.

tioranda2.jpgThe bridge is a Bowstring Truss Bridge and one of the last remaing of its kind in the US. While a newly elected city government is promising that the bridge will be ‘restored’ and the trusses eventually returned as ornamental pieces when a new bridge is built, this remains to be seen. Many local officials and fire dept heads want to see a new two lane bridge with a corresponding widening of South Ave, the road that runs across the creek.

The area around the bridge is pristine, save for the abandoned factory building owned by a New York Corporation with unknown intentions for its use. Madam Brett Park adjoins the span. The tide pushes into the creek as far as the bridge and sturgeon can occasionally be seen just below the murky surface. The road leading to the bridge from 9D is narrow and winding. It crosses the Tioronda Bridge and once under the railroad tracks a little further on splits. The area is single family housing and is still quite wooded. Deer abound and the occasional Osprey swoops into the creek for a morning meal.

Above the bridge about a quarter mile is the last of several waterfalls on the creek. On either side of the creek, two abutments give a clue to the old route of the Central New England RR Co. which crossed the creek here. Just behind the two houses on the East side of the bridge, the old railroad right of way can still be seen if you know where to look.

With the onslaught of development in the area, and the possible development of the Craig House property near by, this small relatively undisturbed area is in need of protection. At the same time, the residential population in the area needs fire and other emergency vehicles to be able to quickly respond to any situation. All of the concerns for the bridge, old and new are legitimate.

Where do we go from here? The historic bridge piers need to be rebuilt. The bridge needs to be restored and preserved. The bow string truss’s need to be carefully stored and given new life if possible, and put back in place, if only used in an ornamental fashion. The bridge should become a pedestrian walkway with access for emergency vehicles when necessary.
The Tioronda Bridge is unique. Only a few remain in the entire USA. To have allowed it to deteriorate to its present state is a crime. To ignore its significance is shameful and to not restore it will add to the list of architecture that has been allowed to be demolished in Beacon in the name of progress.

It is certainly clear that Beacon and the Hudson Valley is growing. It is a clear reason for structures like the Tioronda bridge and other important and historical sites be preserved.
I spent quite a bit of time last week photographing the dismantling of the Tioronda Bridge. The photos are a part of the bridges history. Let’s hope that I’ll soon be taking photographs of a newly designed bridge that incorporates the old truss’s that have been a part of our history for so long.

John Fasulo
Beacon, NY
February 2007
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20 comments for “The Tioranda Bridge Succumbs”

  1. Well done, John. Your thoughtful and even handed approach has enlightened us. People like you may prevent Beacon and the Hudson Valley from losing the history and artifacts that make it such a great place to live.

    Posted by Ed & Eileen | February 4, 2007, 11:15 am
  2. The city administration is really getting bogged down trying to help every cause under the sun, including this one resulting in well, that of which you describe as an ineffective effort. It takes community members like yourself with passion for broad ranging issues to get involved and help. May others follow your lead.

    Posted by LifeLong | February 5, 2007, 7:54 am
  3. it is a shame the bridge is gone looks like what gets saved is only asome thing where the right pepole benifit (and there is a bow strin bridge in the mohawk valley that is also in sad shape it is about 3 othe the south ave bridges togather, and a real laugh is the village of canajoharie thinks they have the last dummy light in ny

    Posted by billpen | February 5, 2007, 9:01 am
  4. and there is also a old brett family plot on the corner south ave and knewlings mill

    Posted by billpen | February 5, 2007, 9:06 am
  5. why couldn’t they have just left the old bridge undisturbed (for pedestrians) and built another one right next to the original?

    this is done in a number of places around the country, you need look no further than the newburgh-beacon bridge to find an example!

    furthermore, the approach to the bridge is one lane under the railroad tracks… making this route amenable to automobilies is going to be a huge undertaking, or will involve a dangerous section of road. there are some roads up by pawling/ patterson like that (major road becomes one lane under old train tracks) and its a scary ride with two cars travelling at 40 mph heading right at each other around a curve towards one lane (route 164/ 311 i believe on the far side of i84)

    Posted by BR | February 5, 2007, 3:14 pm
  6. THIS IS GREAT NEWS!!! Once again tree huggers, Beacon is a city. I hope they continue to build up the area and commend the city for approving the development in this area. MOVE UP NORTH YOU TREE HUGGERS!!!

    – Make South Ave 2 lanes and the bridge an operating one.
    – Allow the housing development in the craig house property, should have been a college anyway. Since no one in this area has no vision what so ever besides trees, guess houses will do

    Posted by Anti-Tree Hugger | February 5, 2007, 3:58 pm
  7. Anti-Tree-Hugger,
    I am so sorry for you that no one taught you better. I know the comments you make are out of ignorance, self consciousness and severe self hatred but we know that all us “tree huggers?” feel compassion for you and your sorry state. It’s okay to cry, sweetie.

    Posted by Jill | February 5, 2007, 11:01 pm
  8. hey some folk just think because they are better off than others they know more. i changeng the train overpath would mean fta involment and a lot of cash the grieg house land would make a nice school but would it happen. who knows. but i do remember fishing off the old bridge as kid and under the pipe that the walk pth now covers and at the falls where the old rail road pssed over and layong and the roclks that the raceway over flow spilled down and swimming there?

    Posted by billpen | February 6, 2007, 8:47 am
  9. John,

    I enjoyed reading your post. I too hope that the structure can be restored and used to decorate a new pedestrain/emergency crossing at that spot. It is very sad that there was not more coverage in the local “journals”. Thanks for your private effort at documenting this piece of our communities history.


    Greg Strong

    Posted by Gregory H Strong | February 7, 2007, 11:40 am
  10. People who use Limbaughesque/Fox News terms like “tree hugger” are generally not to be taken seriously. Speaking personally, I love trees and glad Beacon is full of trees, but I have never desired to “hug” a tree. Nor for that matter, have I ever rode in a limosine while espousing liberalism, or advocated a mindless “tax and spend” philosophy.

    I might add that oversimplified political discourse (e.g., “axis of evil,” the war will be a “cakwalk,” etc.) has gotten us into a wasteful, expensive war with no end in sight. It is a dumbing down of the highest order, and those who do it want to drag everyone else down to their chimp like level.

    Posted by TC | February 7, 2007, 11:54 am
  11. Is this the same area where two bodies were found last year?

    What does the bridge have to do with tree hugging or the Iraq war? Some of you partisan cheerleaders need to up your medication.

    Posted by Frank N. Stein | February 9, 2007, 12:45 pm
  12. Concerning the comments about the bridge…Most seem to concur that the bridge needs to besaved or re-built. As for being a tree hugger, wjat does any of this have to do with being a liberal, environmentalist etcetc.. and what if I or anyone else is?….Are all of the members of the hsitorical society tree huggers? Are those of us who have a sense of hsitory and passion for hsitoric preservation wrong to want to save historic buildings and places for future generations? This city and most others over the years have allowed historic buildings to languish and deteriorate. Not long ago I used some strong words to describe what has happened to much of our history…The term was ‘archetectural genocide’.
    and this city is as guilty of it as any other. Ad on top the “Urban Removal” of the 60s and you have what has transpired over the years, the loss of important archetecture.
    The issue of the bridge and what to do now that it has been partially removed needs to be kept on the front burner. The State DOT which has pushed for the road to be widened and the bridge to be removed needs to be held accountable for what ahppens next. The Tioronda Bridge is on the National Register of Historic Places, a desigantion which should ahve prevented the city from doing what it did in the first place.

    J Fasulo

    Posted by john fasulo | February 11, 2007, 9:10 am
  13. […] theater company, a school board and master plan update, letters and and editorial. Also of note is John Fasulo’s recently posted letter to the editor regarding the demolition of one of Beacon’s Civil War era […]

    Posted by Building The Perfect Beast » February Issue of the Dispatch | February 13, 2007, 10:14 am
  14. THIS IS GREAT NEWS!!! Once again tree huggers, Beacon is a city. I hope they continue to build up the area and commend the city for approving the development in this area. MOVE UP NORTH YOU TREE HUGGERS!!!

    – pave over everything with asphalt
    – make everything a strip mall and a 12 lane highway

    ideally, downtown beacon should look like the new jersey turnpike

    because it’s like people actually have to live here, right? and even people do have to actually live in beacon (how crazy an idea is that?) we all know people prefer an environment of concrete and asphalt to one of evil, nefarious, scheming trees!

    Posted by BR | February 13, 2007, 12:11 pm
  15. Hyperbole on both sides are easy to dismiss and ignore.

    This issue was discussed at length at City Council Meetings in 2005:


    The main discussion was whether the State would put a two lane highway across the bridge with no cost to the city, or whether the city of Beacon wanted to pay for the cost of preserving the bridge. Its up to the city, not the DOT.

    Read the minutes. A lot of options were discussed. Meanwile, there IS a good chance this issue will be put off indefinitely and eventually forgotton. Nobody wants to be the one to point to when tax money is spent.

    Years ago there was another bow truss bridge higher up the creek and the trusses were stored for awhile and mysteriously disappeared- probably sold for scrap.

    I go to Madame Brett a few times a week. There is a nice view from the bridge.

    The earth of Madame Brett’s trails are spongey since it is made of the rotting fabric left from the factory there. There is a sewage overflow “fountain” at the stairs leading down to the park where you can see toilet paper hanging from the bushes below like christmas ornaments. Human feces can be seen floating in the estuary there, which is only about a foot deep and currently has a shopping cart frozen in the middle of it. The underbrush all around is filled with garbage.

    I wouldn’t exactly call it a pristine.

    One thing about Beacon is that this city is small enough that you can go to the city planning and city council meetings, learn what’s actually go on here first hand, as it happens, and you can also have your voice be heard. But you have to go and participate.

    Posted by Randall | February 20, 2007, 12:54 pm
  16. I grew up on Spring Valley St. and we always refered to the Tioronda Bridge as ” the Orange Bridge” as opposed to ” the Bobrich Bridge” on East Main St. where they always had the 21 gun salute on Memorial Day….Just a thought….
    Richie Dubetsky
    Houston, Texas

    Posted by richard dubetsky | March 13, 2007, 4:28 pm
  17. John,

    I feel the true flavor of the Hudson Valley’s history and beauty is slowly being stolen from us. Keep fighting the good fight.

    Posted by Susan | April 11, 2007, 6:54 pm
  18. If Richard Dubetsky from Beacon reads this or anyone knows him could they pass on, Dennis Kelly-504 INF of the 82nd Airborne (1964-1967) U S Army would like to get in touch.

    You can email me here or call him directly @ 610-543-7998.

    Thanks, Chuck

    Posted by Chuck Taylor | July 1, 2008, 8:59 pm
  19. If Chuck Taylor reads this post, could you please call me at 281-733-8879 or pass the info on to Kelly…I’ve been trying to contact him for years…I appreciate the effort you put into trying to contact me..I’m sorry that I didn’t see it until today..

    Posted by Richard Dubetsky | June 18, 2009, 2:47 pm
  20. Can anyone tell me the history of Slocum Road in Beacon? I presume it was named after Dr. Jonathan Slocum of famed Craig House as a hospital. Was this still part of the Craig House estate? Also was this area/hospital linked to any German heritage or Craig House? Or any German activities during world war? Does anyone know the architects around 1928 and were they of European descent? Thank you for any information

    Posted by Eddy Coston | September 3, 2009, 10:19 am

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