North Blenheim in Schoharie County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
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.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Bridges & Viaducts • Notable Buildings • Roads & Vehicles. In addition, it is included in the Covered Bridges series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1828.
Location. 42° 28.386′ N, 74° 26.445′ W. Marker is in North Blenheim, New York, in Schoharie County. It is in . Marker is at the intersection of New York State Route 30 and Eastside Road, on the right when traveling north on State Route 30. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: North Blenheim NY 12131, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Old Blenheim Bridge (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Blenheim Bridge (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Creation (about 600 feet away); The Floods (about 600 feet away); The Life (about 600 feet away); The Re-Creation (about 600 feet away); a different marker also named Old Blenheim Bridge (about 600 feet away); Indian Trail (approx. 0.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map 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 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
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 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 late August of 2011, record flooding associated with the remnants of Hurricanes Irene and Lee hit the Schoharie River Valley. Classified as a 500-year flood, the valley sustained unprecedented devastation. One of the casualties was the Old Blenheim Bridge, which was swept away and destroyed on August 28. None of the bridge remains at its former site, and pieces of it were scattered far and wide downriver.
Although the community has recovered some of the original bridge timbers from downstream, the property no longer retains its historic integrity. The Old Blenheim Bridge has ceased to meet the criteria for designation because the qualities which originally led it to be designated have been destroyed. The Landmark designation was withdrawn on July 21, 2015, and the property was also removed from the National Register of Historic Places.
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 . . .
1. Blenheim Covered Bridge: A Bridge to History. New York (Submitted on July 13, 2022, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York.)
2. Historic American Engineering Record for the Blenheim Covered Bridge. Library of Congress website entry (Submitted on October 2, 2008.)
3. Blenheim Bridge Replacement Underway. Daily Gazette website entry (Submitted on August 5, 2018, by Howard C. Ohlhous of Duanesburg, New York.)
Additional keywords. Covered Bridge Double Barrel Nicholas Montgomery Powers Tory William Beacraft Hurricane Irene Tropical Storm Irene Damage Schoharie Creek Flood Damage 2011
Credits. This page was last revised on July 13, 2022. It was originally submitted on September 28, 2008, by Howard C. Ohlhous of Duanesburg, New York. This page has been viewed 2,007 times since then and 4 times this year. Last updated on September 10, 2011, by Howard C. Ohlhous of Duanesburg, New York. Photos: 1. submitted on September 28, 2008, by Howard C. Ohlhous of Duanesburg, New York. 2. submitted on September 10, 2011, by Howard C. Ohlhous of Duanesburg, New York. 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on September 28, 2008, by Howard C. Ohlhous of Duanesburg, New York. 7. submitted on October 2, 2008, by Howard C. Ohlhous of Duanesburg, New York. 8, 9, 10. submitted on September 10, 2011, by Howard C. Ohlhous of Duanesburg, New York. 11, 12. submitted on August 5, 2018, by Howard C. Ohlhous of Duanesburg, New York. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.