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Owego in Tioga County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

The Bridges of Owego

 
 
The Bridges of Owego Marker image. Click for full size.
By Steve Stoessel, October 26, 2019
1. The Bridges of Owego Marker
Inscription.  Prior to the early 19th century, it seems that the easiest and most common way to get across the Susquehanna River was simply to walk through the shallow water. It was easy to find locations where fording was possible with water from bank to bank less than two or three feet deep, and in some seasons, even shallower. Because the water was so shallow, it froze quickly in winter, enabling people, wagons, etc. to cross on the ice.

Interest in building Owego's first bridge across the River began in early 1816 when a group of prominent and powerful Owego businessmen formed a stock company for the purpose of putting a bridge across the river. The act incorporating the company passed the New York State Legislature and became a law on April 17, 1816. The name of the corporation was The Owego Bridge Company. After several extensions were granted, it wasn't until May 7, 1828 that the stock was finally sold and the bridge could be built.

From the time it had opened, the Owego bridge had been a toll bridge with charges ranging from a few cents for a single walker to about a half dallar for a large heavy wagon pulled by four or more animals.

Over
Bridge at Owego over the Susquehanna River (NY 96) image. Click for full size.
By Steve Stoessel, October 26, 2019
2. Bridge at Owego over the Susquehanna River (NY 96)
the years, there have been five bridges built in the village of Owego: 1828-1867, 1868-1892, 1893-1933, 1933-2001, and 2003-present.

There are, of course, lots of stories about our bridges, but one of the more interesting ones is about a ritual that took place every spring when word would be excitedly passed that the ice broke at the island. That meant the ice jam at Hiawatha Island gave way, and reminiscent of the early raftsmen, people rushed to the river. Only this wasn't for rafting. It was to get on the bridge (and the riverbanks) and watch the mammoth chunks of ice crunch and gore their downstream. The piers on the older bridges were slanted on the upstream side way (as shown at left), so the ice floes climbed way up into the air toward the floor of the bridge before crashing down in a fury to be swept under the bridge with a roar. It must have taken nerve to stand there and wonder which one would win, the bridge or the ice.

For additional information, go to: www.villageofowego.com or www.visittioga.com

Photo Captions:
First Iron Bridge, 1893-1933
First Owego Bridge, 1828-68 (note slanted piers)
Grand Opening of Current Owego Bridge, 2003.
 
Location. 42° 6.083′ N, 76° 15.73′ W. Marker is in Owego, New York, in Tioga County. Marker is on
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Front Street west of Court Street (New York State Route 96), on the left when traveling west. Marker is in Draper Park. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Owego NY 13827, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Fishing the Susquehanna (a few steps from this marker); Steamboats and Docks (a few steps from this marker); Former Residence (within shouting distance of this marker); Routes of the Armies (within shouting distance of this marker); Two Rivers Greenway (within shouting distance of this marker); 1849 Great Fire (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Ithaca-Owego RR (about 300 feet away); Tioga County Memorial (about 300 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Owego.
 
Also see . . .
1. History of Owego. Click the "History" tab. (Submitted on October 29, 2019, by Steve Stoessel of Niskayuna, New York.) 

2. Village of Owego. (Submitted on October 30, 2019, by Michael Herrick of Southbury, Connecticut.)
3. Welcome to Tioga County, NY. (Submitted on October 30, 2019, by Michael Herrick of Southbury, Connecticut.)
 
Categories. Bridges & ViaductsSettlements & SettlersWaterways & Vessels
 

More. Search the internet for The Bridges of Owego.
 
Credits. This page was last revised on October 30, 2019. This page originally submitted on October 28, 2019, by Steve Stoessel of Niskayuna, New York. This page has been viewed 39 times since then and 5 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on October 28, 2019, by Steve Stoessel of Niskayuna, New York. • Michael Herrick was the editor who published this page.
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