“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Red Hook in Dutchess County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

The Bridge Engineers

The Bridge Engineers Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Steve Stoessel, December 6, 2020
1. The Bridge Engineers Marker
Left Section:
Completion of the Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge involved close, but sometimes awkward, collaboration between the New York State Bridge Authority and the New York State Department of Public Works. The Bridge Authority hired the D. B. Steinman Company to conduct preliminary studies, recommend potential Company was bridge locations, and develop designs. But the of Public Works had to declare the bridge to be in the public interest and grant formal approval before construction could proceed. The two agencies also had to reconcile the somewhat a competing needs of finding an optimal bridge location, providing acceptable links to New York State's rapidly developing highway network, and balancing the interests of property owners along the Hudson River shoreline.

D. B. Steinman Company Engineers
Project engineer Walter E. Joyce was a civil engineering graduate of Yale Sheffield Scientific School. Long associated with bridge engineers Holton D. Robinson and David B. Steinman, he had been with the D. B. Steinman Company for 27 years. A Kingston resident, Joyce was a veteran of numerous railroad and
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highway bridge projects, including a railway tunnel through Mt. Royal in Montreal, Canada, as well as the Rondout Creek Suspension Bridge, Bear Mountain Bridge, and the Philadelphia-Camden Bridge. As an engineering consultant, he was involved in the construction of Kingston's Governor Clinton Hotel and the Rondout Savings Bank Building.

Photos: Milton O. Elkow, Carl H. Gronquist, Ray M. Boynton, Engineers
Photo Credits: [Walter Joyce] Collections of Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library; Milton C. Elkow, The Polywog 1933, Poly Archives, Bern Dibner Library, New York University Libraries; Ray M. Boynton, Special Collections, Fogler Library, University of Maine.

Center Section:
D.B. Steinman: Professional Engineer and Published Poet
The D. B. Steinman Company was formed in 1923 by internationally eminent bridge designer Dr. David Barnard Steinman, City College alumnus with a doctorate in civil engineering from Columbia University. Steinman, the master of long-span suspension bridges, had grown up beneath the Brooklyn Bridge, which became a lifelong source of inspiration. From the 1920s until his death in 1960, the firm designed more than 400 bridges, many of which are now recognized as historic engineering landmarks. Much of the preliminary work for the Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge was
The Bridge Engineers Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Steve Stoessel, December 6, 2020
2. The Bridge Engineers Marker
designed by Dr. Steinman himself, but he later turned his attention to the Mackinac Bridge in Michigan, which was his project of a lifetime. Work on the Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge fell to his longtime associates (left). Steinman also expressed his creative passion through his published poetry.

Photo Caption: Steinman, who did much to advance the field of civil engineering. was also a talented poet firm and writer.

"A bridge is a poem stretched across a river, a symphony of stone and steel."
Brooklyn Bridge Nightfall, David Barnard Steinman

Center Inset:
With hammer-clang on steel and rock
I sing the song of men who build
With strength defying storm and shock
I sing a hymn of dreams fulfilled.

I lift my span above the tide
And stand where wind and wave caress.
I bear the load so men may ride
On rainbow road to happiness.

The light gleams on my strands and bars
In glory when the sun goes down.
I lift a net to hold the stars
And wear the sunset as my crown.
David Barnard Steinman

Right Section:
Department of Public Works Engineers
Bertram D. Tallamy, Superintendent of the New York State Department of Public Works and Chairman of
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the State's Thruway Authority, was a civil engineering graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute who was experienced in municipal planning and construction engineering. Heavily engaged in the planning, design, and construction of arterial roads and the new "superhighways," or interstates, across New York, he became known as "one of the world's greatest builders of roads.” Soon after the Kingston- Rhinecliff Bridge opened to traffic in February 1957, he became Federal Highway Administrator and began overseeing the nation's new interstate highway construction.

Photo Credit: The New York Times, March 7,1961

J. Burch McMorran, Chief Engineer during the construction of the Kingston- Rhinecliff Bridge, was a civil engineering graduate of Syracuse University and a veteran of World Wars I and II. He begun his career as a road gang laborer while still in high school and rose to become chief engineer at the New York State Department of Public Works, Thruway Authority, and the Power Authority. Later, as superintendent of the Public Works, he oversaw construction of the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge. Other key projects included the Adirondack Northway and the Niagara and St. Lawrence power projects.

James S. Bixby was the district engineer for the New York State Department of Public Works during the construction of the Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge. He was a civil engineering graduate of the University of Vermont. He began working on the New York State Barge Canal at Fort Plain, New York, but quickly moved to the highway division, ignoring the advice of a senior engineer that highways were just "a flash in the pan.” He supervised engineering projects such as the Mid- Hudson Bridge, Storm King Highway, Palisades Parkway, and the Catskill section of the New York State Thruway.

Photo Credit: Unidentified newspaper clipping photograph from Special Collections and University Archives, University of Vermont
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Bridges & Viaducts. A significant historical month for this entry is February 1957.
Location. 41° 58.374′ N, 73° 55.846′ W. Marker is in Red Hook, New York, in Dutchess County. Marker is on New York State Route 199, half a mile west of River Road (County Route 103), on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Red Hook NY 12571, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Building the Bridge (here, next to this marker); The New York State Bridge Authority (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Scenic Splendor Unsurpassed Anywhere (about 300 feet away); Hudson River National Historic Landmark District (approx. ¾ mile away); Old Rhinebeck (approx. 2.2 miles away); St. Margaret's (approx. 2½ miles away); David Van Ness (approx. 3.1 miles away); Hendricks House (approx. 3.1 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Red Hook.
Also see . . .  Kingston–Rhinecliff Bridge (Wikipedia). (Submitted on January 7, 2021, by Michael Herrick of Southbury, Connecticut.)
Credits. This page was last revised on January 7, 2021. It was originally submitted on January 5, 2021, by Steve Stoessel of Niskayuna, New York. This page has been viewed 182 times since then and 6 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on January 5, 2021, by Steve Stoessel of Niskayuna, New York. • Michael Herrick was the editor who published this page.
Editor’s want-list for this marker. Photo of the bridge. • Can you help?

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Apr. 13, 2024