Webster to Main Street Bridges

Dublin Core


Webster to Main Street Bridges


? - 1916: The Long Bridge - Engineers were already discussing the replacement of the Long Bridge when weeks of heavy spring flooding and a collision with an out-of-control scow compromise the middle support pier on the evening of March 28th, 1916. Around 10 p.m. that evening, bridge pedestrians hear a great crash and feel vibrations. "Several of the women on the structure became so weak from fright they had to be assisted from the bridge by their escorts" (Tonawanda News, March 29, 1916). The police quickly close the bridge traffic. But the worst is not over. The bridge begins slowly sinking into the creek and is soon impassable. The New York Telephone Company (whose main cable crossed the bridge) warns connectivity between the halves of the Niagara Frontier might be cut off. More canal boats are carried by the current over the dam and into the bridges, as is the body of a North Tonawanda schoolteacher, Miss Mary Hill, who was missing since January. It is presumed a suicide, though "no cause has been assigned for her act" (Ibid).

1918-1978: The bascule (lift) bridge - The replacement bridge was engineered to open and let masted boats to pass on the south side. According to a plaque on the site, it was built by the Bethlehem Steel Bridge Corporation. The Whitford book on eriecanal.org gives the following contract information:

Contract No. Work Contractor Date Cost
147 Bascule bridge, Main and Webster Sts., Tonawanda Lathrop, Shea & Henwood Co. 9/10/17 $254,019

This collection features photos of the bascule bridge in its heyday, as well as a black-and-white series depicting its 1978 demolition, and the rerouting of the Main and Young street approaches.


Long bridge damaged, train crossing canal, photo (1916-03-30).jpg

068 Train crossing canal-broken bridge.jpg

From Tonawanda News: WATERLOGGED BOAT SWEPT OVER THE DAM A waterlogged canal boat came down the Tonawanda creek late last night and went over the old…

Main-Webster Street Bridge; north span, looking north, photo (NYSA, 1920-06-07).jpg

Main-Webster Street Bridge; north span, looking north, photo (NYSA, 1920-06-07).jpg

Scanlon, Sweeney Building, Real Estate Exchange, National Bank