Easton in Northampton County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Connecting Communities Across the Delaware River
Karl Stirner Arts Trail
— City of Easton, Pennsylvania —
The first commercial crossing of the Delaware River at Easton was a ferry enfranchised to David Martin in 1739. Located near the present site of Scott Park at the junction of the Lehigh and Delaware Rivers, it operated until the beginning of the nineteenth century. After about a half-century of use, the ferry could no longer adequately serve commerce and was replaced with a covered, wooden bridge that was opened to traffic on October 14, 1806.
The covered bridge was designed and built by Timothy Palmer, one of the foremost bridge builders of his time. By the late nineteenth century, when horse-drawn streetcars were replaced by trolley cars, the old wooden bridge could no longer handle the demands of traffic and a new structure was erected at Northampton Street.
The Northampton Street Bridge, also known as the "Free Bridge," was designed by James Madison Porter III, a graduate of nearby Lafayette College with a degree in civil engineering, who hailed from a family long prominent in Easton and Pennsylvania history.
The Northampton Street Bridge is designated as an Historic Civil Engineering Landmark
Karl Stirner Arts Trail
City of Easton, Pennsylvania
Erected by City of Easton, Pennsylvania.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Bridges & Viaducts • Industry & Commerce • Parks & Recreational Areas. In addition, it is included in the ASCE Civil Engineering Landmarks, and the Pennsylvania, Easton, Karl Stirner Arts Trail series lists. A significant historical year for this entry is 1805.
Location. 40° 41.497′ N, 75° 12.309′ W. Marker is in Easton, Pennsylvania, in Northampton County. Marker is at the intersection of Larry Holmes Drive (Pennsylvania Route 611) and Northampton Street, on the right when traveling north on Larry Holmes Drive. Marker is located near the sidewalk at the northeast corner of the intersection, overlooking the Northampton Street Bridge. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Easton PA 18042, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Christopher Columbus Statue (within shouting distance of this marker); Welcome to Easton! (within shouting distance of this marker); Northampton Street Bridge (within shouting distance of this marker); 1753 Bachmann Publick House (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Benjamin Riegel MansionDavid Martin's Ferry (about 700 feet away); Dr. Florence Seibert (about 700 feet away); Union Square Hotel (approx. 0.2 miles away in New Jersey). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Easton.
More about this marker. Marker is included in Easton's "Karl Stirner Arts Trail" series.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Northampton Street Bridge
Also see . . .
1. Northampton Street Crossing History.
The crossing was first a ferry crossing run by David Martin, beginning in 1739. The original wooden bridge opened on October 14, 1806. The original bridge was designed and built by Timothy Palmer, one of the most famous bridge builders of his time. Palmer's covered bridge at Easton endured many floods and storms while other bridges fell. However, by the late nineteenth century, when horse-drawn streetcars were replaced by trolley cars, the old wooden bridge could no longer handle the demands of traffic and this new structure was erected in 1895. (Submitted on March 5, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
2. Timothy Palmer, The Nestor of American Bridge Builders.
Palmer’s last major structure was a bridge over the Delaware River connecting Easton, Pennsylvania with Philipsburg, New Jersey. He had the deck sit on top of the central truss, with his side trusses ran to the roof. (Submitted on March 5, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
3. James Madison Porter III.
James Madison Porter III (1864–1928) was an American civil engineer notable for his role in designing two unique bridges across the Delaware River and for his development of the civil engineering program at Lafayette College. In addition to his academic achievements, Porter designed the Northampton Street Bridge between Easton, Pennsylvania, and Phillipsburg, New Jersey, which is now one of few eyebar cantilever bridges remaining in the U.S. and notable for its high level of ornamentation. (Submitted on March 5, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
Credits. This page was last revised on October 4, 2020. It was originally submitted on March 5, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 198 times since then and 25 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on March 5, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.