The Delaware Bridges of Mercer Country: A History

The Delaware Bridges of Mercer Country: A History

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The Hopewell Public Library will be presenting a lecture about our local bridges spanning the Delaware River on Wednesday, September 26 at 7pm, at the Hopewell Train Station. Speaker Joe Donnelly, of the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission, will discuss the history of the county’s Delaware River bridges, illustrated with historic photographs, news items, documents, and maps.

Bridges have spanned the Delaware River between New Jersey and Pennsylvania for more than 200 years, and Mercer County has played a prominent role in that transportation legacy. Mercer was the location of the first bridge to span the river (1806), the first to carry a railroad between two states (1830s) and the first bridge to become publicly owned without a toll (1918). Today, Mercer County is host to the narrowest vehicular bridge, the oldest bridge, and only wrought-iron bridge between the two states. Next year, the county will host the river’s newest bridge when the first completed span of the Scudder Falls Replacement Bridge opens to traffic. The history of Mercer County’s river bridges includes early wooden structures, floods, fires, private stock-issuing companies, railroad barons, a trolley line, a free-bridges movement, a mystery bridge, and a river crossing that ceased existence 60 years ago this year.

Joe Donnelly became the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission’s deputy executive director of communications in February 2008. He previously handled communications in the New Jersey General Assembly and worked as a reporter for The Record of Bergen County, NJ. A Lambertville resident, he has researched the history of his agency’s 20 bridges, some of which rank among oldest and most unique interstate river crossings in the nation.

The Hopewell Train Station is at 2 Railroad Place in Hopewell Borough. All Hopewell Public Library talks are free and open to the public. Due to the size limitations of the library building these talks are held at different venues in the borough. Speakers include local authors, historians, environmentalists, and experts. For more information and updates check the library website at redlibrary.org, Facebook, or contact the library at 609-466-1625.

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