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Bridges near Cooperstown, NY

The area near Cooperstown, New York, is home to three abandoned, iron through-truss bridges dating from the 1880s and 1890s. While many communities rehabilitate their historic bridges to serve as pedestrian bridges or historic parks, the three bridges near Cooperstown have largely been left to the elements.

The Phoenix Road crosses a small creek south of Cooperstown. It has an ornate date plaque topped by the number “95”, implying that the date of construction is 1895, but this is not clear. The bridge sits at the end of a short, residential street, and has been closed to traffic. Because there are rural/residential acres on both ends, no attempt has been made to construct a bypass bridge here, or to rehabilitate the bridge to serve as a park.

The Lower Toddsville Bridge, over Oak Creek, was constructed by the Wrought Iron Bridge Company in the 1880s. Also abandoned and not replaced by a bypass bridge, the rural/residential setting is similar to that of the Phoenix Road Bridge. This bridge was rehabilitated in 2007, but, as of 2021, even the new deck was falling to pieces, and was not safe to cross on foot.

Wells Bridge, in the nearby town of the same name, was constructed in 1886 by the King Bridge Company. This bridge crosses the Susquehanna River, so is much larger than Phoenix Road and Lower Toddsville, being two trusses long. Wells Bridge has been bypassed with a newer roadway bridge, and is accessible to pedestrians.

As a geologist, one of my favorite bridges in Cooperstown is the Main Street Bridge, located a block or two from the Baseball Hall of Fame. The bridge structure is relatively uninteresting, having been constructed in 2003. However, the bridge marks a significant location, because it crosses the source of the 400 mile-long Susquehanna River just as it emerges from Lake Otsego.

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