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North Blenheim in Schoharie County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Blenheim Bridge

 
 
Blenheim Bridge Marker - North Blenheim, NY image. Click for full size.
By Howard C. Ohlhous, April 11, 2007
1. Blenheim Bridge Marker - North Blenheim, NY
The Old Blenheim Bridge, which spans the Schoharie Creek, is in the background. The modern Route 30 bridge curves off to the right of the photo.
Inscription.
Longest single span wooden
bridge in world. Built by
Blenheim Bridge Company,
Incorporated 1828. Last of
its kind in this region.

 
Erected 1936 by New York State Education Department.
 
Location. 42° 28.386′ N, 74° 26.445′ W. Marker is in North Blenheim, New York, in Schoharie County. Marker is at the intersection of New York State Route 30 and Eastside Road, on the right when traveling north on State Route 30. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: North Blenheim NY 12131, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 8 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Old Blenheim Bridge (within shouting distance of this marker); Captain Jacob Hager (approx. 1.4 miles away); Manor House (approx. 2.2 miles away); Indian Trail (approx. 3.8 miles away); Gilboa Settlement (approx. 5.6 miles away); The Upper Fort 1777 (approx. 8 miles away); Timothy Murphy (approx. 8 miles away); Site of Battle (approx. 8.1 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in North Blenheim.
 
Regarding Blenheim Bridge. The Old Blenheim Bridge was located in the Town of Blenheim on State Route 30 in North Blenheim, Schoharie County, New York. It spanned
Blenheim Bridge Marker - Minus the Blenheim Bridge image. Click for full size.
By Howard C. Ohlhous, September 10, 2011
2. Blenheim Bridge Marker - Minus the Blenheim Bridge
The bridge was washed away and destroyed during record breaking flooding of the raging Schoharie Creek after Hurricane Irene on August 28, 2011. A few pieces of the wooden bridge remain wedged in the railings of the Route 30 bridge, just to the right of the marker.
the Schoharie Creek and was "double-barreled" or had two separate lanes. At 232 feet in length between the stone abutments, this bridge had the unique distinction of being "the longest covered single span wooden bridge in the world" and was one of only six remaining bridges in the world with two separated lanes. It was constructed of Long truss with a center arch. The bridge was built in 1854-5 by Nicholas M. Powers under contract for the Blenheim Bridge Company (inc. 1828) as a toll bridge and retired from use in 1931, and it was named a National Historic Engineering Landmark, as well as a National Historic Landmark, 1935.

It's interesting to note that the bridge was not built in place over the Schoharie Creek as most folks would imagine, but rather was assembled at a site nearby, to insure the pieces all fit together correctly. Afterwards it was disassembled and erected in its former location across the creek.
Local lore has it that while the stone abutments were being built one of the masons was sent to fetch a jug of whiskey. Before they got a chance to open the jug and imbibe, the president of the bridge company, J. Dickinson, who was a "teetotaller" (it's an archaic term by today’s standard, a tetotallar being someone who practices and promotes the complete abstinence from alcoholic beverages) arrived unannounced to inspect the progress of the bridge. The masons
Blenheim Bridge image. Click for full size.
By Howard C. Ohlhous, April 20, 2005
3. Blenheim Bridge
The west portal of the old Blenheim Covered Bridge as seen from the newest bridge over the Schoharie Creek.
were forced to hastily hide the jug in the first available spot which happened to be a niche in the abutment. As work proceeded at a quicker pace under the eagle eye of the company president, who wouldn't leave, the masons were forced to build up the stonework around the jug before it was rescued, and supposedly it remains there to this day.

The picturesque old bridge has had many adventures. It has been afire three times and is now insured like any ordinary house. Twice the roof caught fire from windblown sparks and embers from burning buildings in the village. And once, many years ago, when traveling tinkers went about mending pots and pans, carrying a small charcoal stove to heat their soldering irons, one of these tinkers went so sleep in the bridge and tipped his stove over. The hot coals ignited the wooden bridge but someone happened along in time to put the fire out and to sober up the "tinker" in the nearby river. – Schenectady Union-Star: Feb. 26, 1930

On August 28, 2011, record flooding along the Schoharie Creek, due to Tropical Storm Irene, resulted in the bridge being washed away and completely destroyed.
 
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker. There are other Markers about this Bridge at the former site of the bridge portal.
 
Also see . . .
The Old Blenheim Covered Bridge image. Click for full size.
By Howard C. Ohlhous, circa April 20, 2005
4. The Old Blenheim Covered Bridge

1. Blenheim Covered Bridge Historic Marker. Some very interesting background information on the Blenheim Covered Bridge. (Submitted on September 28, 2008, by Howard C. Ohlhous of Duanesburg, New York.) 

2. Historic American Engineering Record for the Blenheim Covered Bridge. (Submitted on October 2, 2008.)
 
Additional keywords. Covered Bridge Double Barrel Nicholas Montgomery Powers Tory William Beacraft Hurricane Irene Tropical Storm Irene Damage Schoharie Creek Flood Damage 2011
 
Categories. Bridges & ViaductsNotable BuildingsRoads & Vehicles
 
Blenheim Bridge Interior Structure image. Click for full size.
By Howard C. Ohlhous, September 27, 2008
5. Blenheim Bridge Interior Structure
The wooden Burr Arch, curving up amongst the interior woodwork in the center of the bridge, is responsible for carrying a major portion of the bridge load. The trusses are of Long Truss design. The center truss is higher than the two outside ones. The center truss encloses a single arch of oak which reaches from below the lower chord on up to the ridgepole at the peak of the roof. It is really three concentric arches, one on top of another, and carefully blocked together to allow air to circulate among them.
Old Blenheim Bridge Drawing Detail image. Click for full size.
Historic American Building Survey
6. Old Blenheim Bridge Drawing Detail
This is a detail of a drawing from the Historical American Building Survey which shows the center arch of the bridge. The arch rests on the bridge pier below the floor of the bridge and curves all the way up to underside of the peak of the roof.
Blenheim Bridge - A National Historic Landmark image. Click for full size.
By Howard C. Ohlhous, September 27, 2008
7. Blenheim Bridge - A National Historic Landmark
The Old Blenheim Bridge was named a National Historic Landmark on January 29, 1964. This interpretive sign stands near the other markers at the east portal of the bridge.
Blenheim Bridge Abutments image. Click for full size.
By Howard C. Ohlhous, September 10, 2011
8. Blenheim Bridge Abutments
The bridge abutments are all that remain in place after the flooding.
Blenheim Bridge Debris image. Click for full size.
By Howard C. Ohlhous, September 10, 2011
9. Blenheim Bridge Debris
This pile of debris at the side of the road is all that remains here of the bridge. Pieces of the bridge and its green sheet metal roofing can be seen strewn, a little here, a little there, along the banks of the creek for quite a ways down stream. The marker remains standing, just beyond, at the end of the Route 30 bridge over the creek.
North Blenheim Historic District Damaged image. Click for full size.
By Howard C. Ohlhous, September 10, 2011
10. North Blenheim Historic District Damaged
These buildings in the North Blenheim Historic District, which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974, show that the Blenheim Bridge was not the only structure in this neigborhood to suffer in the flooding on July 28, 2011.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Howard C. Ohlhous of Duanesburg, New York. This page has been viewed 1,729 times since then and 3 times this year. Last updated on , by Howard C. Ohlhous of Duanesburg, New York. Photos:   1. submitted on , by Howard C. Ohlhous of Duanesburg, New York.   2. submitted on , by Howard C. Ohlhous of Duanesburg, New York.   3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on , by Howard C. Ohlhous of Duanesburg, New York.   7. submitted on , by Howard C. Ohlhous of Duanesburg, New York.   8, 9, 10. submitted on , by Howard C. Ohlhous of Duanesburg, New York. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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