Owego in Tioga County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
The Bridges of Owego
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.
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
First Iron Bridge, 1893-1933
First Owego Bridge, 1828-68 (note slanted piers)
Grand Opening of Current Owego Bridge, 2003.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Bridges & Viaducts • Settlements & Settlers • Waterways & Vessels. A significant historical date for this entry is April 17, 1816.
Location. 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.)
Credits. This page was last revised on October 30, 2019. It was originally submitted on October 28, 2019, by Steve Stoessel of Niskayuna, New York. This page has been viewed 357 times since then and 130 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.