I went on a mini-adventure this afternoon, in search of historic bridges in Hunterdon County. Amateur and professional photographers from all of New Jersey and surrounding areas are invited to participate in the Hunterdon Barns, Bridges and Buildings Photo Project, jointly sponsored by the Hunterdon County Chamber of Commerce and The Photographers Group.
The idea is for photographers to offer their vision of the built environment in Hunterdon and document what they see during the summer of 2020. Hunterdon has its own unique character that can be seen in not only its landscapes but also in its structures, including barns, bridges, churches, commercial buildings and other iconic locations.
I have photographed some of the areas in Hunterdon over the year but recently have a focus on visiting some of the farms and preserver along the Hunterdon 579 Trail. This project is an opportunity to focus my photography on some of the historical architecture of Hunterdon County.
On my shot-list for the day was the Centre Bridge-Stockton Bridge that spans the Delaware River between Stockton in Delaware Township and Centre Bridge in Solebury Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania and the Lumberville-Raven Rock Bridge on Bulls Island that spans the Delaware River near Raven Rock in Delaware Township New Jersey to Lumberville, Solebury Township in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
These two bridges are just a fifteen-minute drive between locations. I had expected to photograph each bridge for about 30-45 minutes. As both of these bridges have walkways, I had hoped to shoot primarily from the Pennsylvania side of the river bank.
Arriving at the Bull's Island Recreation Area near Raven Rock, I noticed the entrance was blocked with a sign indicating the lot was full. When I see a park with so many cars, even if there is still some parking available, I won't enter. It is impossible to properly social distance with that many people walking about on the narrow bridge walkway.
I turned around and drove into Stockton, parked outside the Stockton Market and walked to the Centre Bridge-Stockton Bridge. On this very muggy afternoon, only a few pedestrians were walking about in Stockton. By social distancing and a wearing a mask I felt safe, but I noted that only a few of the people I encountered wore masks. Tsk tsk.
According to a plaque on the Pennsylvania side of the bridge, the town of Centre Bridge is so named because it is about midway between Lambertville and Lumberville. I walked over to Centre Bridge and photographed the bridge from the Delaware Towpath. I looked for a way down to the riverbank, but I did not see a way through the thick plant growth and because I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt I was not adequately dressed for bushwhacking. The heat and humidity wore me down, and after just a few photographs, I returned to my parking spot outside the Stockton Market.
I left Stockton and returned to Bull's Island Recreation Area hoping that the parking lot had thinned out. I was disappointed. The lot was still full.
Part of my plan was to end my trip at Conclave Brewing. I had pre-ordered some cans of Moonwater, but the curbside pickup started at 3 PM (or so I thought), and it was only 2 PM.
I remembered that I had passed a sign for Federal Twist Winery. The winery was on my Hunter 579 Trail list, and I hoped I could tour the property and buy some wine.
However, I had more disappointment. The winery was not open for tours. The owners set up a roadside tent near the winery entrance to sell wine and cheese, but I was not allowed to roam the property. I bought a brick of peppery cheddar and a bottle of Rosé made from Chambourcin grapes. Having more time to kill, I continued along the narrow country roads from Federal Twist Raod taking a right turn onto Raven Rock Road and unintentionally ended up at the Lockatong River Bridge.
Lambertville Iron Works built the Lockatong Bridge in 1878.
This notice appeared in the Hunterdon Republican on 1 November 1877:
The Committee appointed by the Board of Chosen Freeholders of the county of Hunterdon for the erection of an Iron Bridge over the Lackatong Creek in the township of Delaware will receive proposals at the hotel of Sutton Hockenberry at Stockton for the erection of the said bridge, until Thursday, the 8th day of November, 1877, at 12 o’clock noon of said day.
The Bridge to be of all Wrought Iron, extreme length between abutments, one hundred and twenty-five (125) feet. The roadway to be sixteen (16) feet in the clear, planked with good White Oak Plank, 3 inches thick, clear of wane edge or sap. The Bridge to be built with a factor of four (4) for safety, proportioned to carry a distributive load of one hundred tons in addition to its own weight.
I looked for a path down to the river's edge, but the area was overgrown with brush and wearing just shorts and a t-shirt I risked deer ticks.
From The Lockatong River Bridge, I continued my drive to Conclave Brewing. But after another 15 minutes drive, I arrived unexpectedly at Green Sergeant Covered Bridge, another one of the bridges that were on my to-do list for Saturday.
Green Sergeant's Covered Bridge is a wooden covered bridge over the Wickecheoke Creek near the border between the Hunterdon Plateau and Amwell Valley located in Delaware Township, Hunterdon County, New Jersey, United States. As the last historic covered bridge in the state of New Jersey, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places (the Scarborough Bridge in Cherry Hill is the only other covered bridge in New Jersey). The bridge was first constructed in 1872, but after being damaged in 1960, it was dismantled and replaced with a modern bridge. In 1961, due to public outcry, the bridge was rebuilt from the original materials.
Photographing the bridge was tricky. I could see no obvious way down to the river bank. I stood in the middle of the road near the northern end of the bridge being very careful to look behind me for oncoming traffic.
I don’t think these are the best photographs of these three bridges. The deadline for submissions is September. I want to return to the bridges in the evening, find a path down to the river banks, and photograph the bridges at golden hour and blue hour.
Submitted as part of the 100DaysToOffload project.
Daniel Brinneman5th July 2020 at 3:29 PM
Great idea for a series! I’m going to enjoy this.