Starrucca Viaduct - The Bridge of Stone
[Marker Panel 1]
Elevation - 1000 feet above sea level
Length - 1040 feet
Height - 100 feet
Width of Deck - 26 feet
Number of Arches - 17
Depth of Pier Footings - 6 to 9 feet
Historical Civil Engineering Landmark, 1973
American Society of Civil Engineers
National Registry of Historic Places, 1975
Pennsylvania Historical & Museums Commission
The Starrucca Viaduct was built by the Erie Railroad in 1847-48. The New York and Erie was the first railroad to connect the Atlantic Ocean with the Great Lakes. It was to stretch 483 miles from Piermont on the Hudson River to Dunkirk on the shores of Lake Erie. Construction began in 1835 at nearby Deposit, NY and later at various other points along the line. According to its charter, the railroad was to remain in NY State entirely, but it was necessary to cross into Pennsylvania to avoid difficult terrain.
Some 800 men, mostly Irish immigrants, furnished the muscle for the stone masonry work. They resided in a 'city of tents' and received about one dollar a day in wages. Work was completed in November 1848 and the track was laid by the end of the month.
The Starrucca Viaduct was constructed in record time under
On December 9, 1848 the first engine crossed Starrucca Viaduct. It was New York and Erie's 15 ton 4-4-0 locomotive named "Orange" built by Norris Locomotive Works of Philadelphia.
Falsework is the wooden timber frames that are built between each pier to support the stone arches as they are being constructed. Typically falsework is built one at a time then disassembled and moved on to the next arch. However, with a deadline looming, all 17 arches had its own set of falsework, using a half million feet of cored and hewn timbers. Look up at the base of the arches to see the protruding perch blocks that the falsework rested upon.
Wrought-iron T-rails for the broad gauge Erie Railroad were manufactured at the new Lackawanna Iron Works, 40 miles to the south. This was the first large order for T-rails in the country and a contract which marked the industrial birth of the City of Scranton.
This D&H railroad depot was built late in 1871 by the Lackawanna & Susquehanna (a railroad owned by the D&H). The
It was built almost entirely from locally quarried, random Pennsylvania Bluestone that varied in thickness from 9 to 18 inches. A makeshift railroad hauled the stone from the quarry, four miles up the Starrucca Creek at Stevens Point, to the construction site. Wagons transported some stone from another neighboring quarry as well.
It was one of the first major bridge structures to use Rosendale Cement from a large deposit of limestone found during excavation of the D&H Canal in 1825. The piers of the viaduct and mortar between the stone used this natural cement. The pier footings, dug 6 to 9 feet deep into the valley floor, were poured concrete. It was also used for the base of the Statue of Liberty (1884-86) and the piers of the Brooklyn Bridge (1870-72).
Brick for supporting arches within the hollow spandrels was made on site from clay found nearby—probably at Brandt where a thick deposit of lacustrine clay was used for brick making 30 years.
Hosea Benson's recollections of the construction were published in the Montrose Independent: "It was winter and bitter cold. I always
Ralph Stone (1932) describes the viaduct in his Building Stones of Pennsylvania? "The high arch stone viaduct of the Erie Railroad at Lanesboro is built of Catskill bluestone which has a weathered to greenish gray to rust color. The stone was quarried at Stevens Point and dressed to joint-face and rock-face random ashlar. The blocks are all sizes.... They are all sound and it looks like as if it would stand for centuries."
[Marker Panel 2]
50 Years Before and After the Starrucca Viaduct
[Viaduct built between the Battle of the Alamo 1836 and 12th President of US Zachary Taylor 1849-1850]
The entire Erie Railroad from Piermont to Dunkirk was opened in May of 1851 with an inspection trip for dignitaries U.S. President Millard Fillmore and Secretary of State Daniel Webster. Secretary Webster is said to have insisted on traveling in a rocking chair placed on a flat car so that he could see all.
Jasper Francis Cropsey, a landscape artist of the Hudson River School, painted the Starrucca Viaduct in 1865. It is currently housed in the Toledo Museum of Art, Ohio (oil on canvas,
Delaware and Hudson's Class J 4-6-6-4 Challenger 1524 blasts southward on April 20, 1952 with Wilkes-Barre bound train RW-6.
[Circa 1960 map showing intersection of the Erie and D&H at Starrucca Viaduct]
NYS&W train in the winter of 1988.
For the U.S. Bicentennial, the Erie Lackawanna and the D&H staged a photo opportunity of red, white and blue on March 20, 1976.
Conrail (Consolidated Rail Corporation of America) took over from Erie Lackawanna on what is called "Conveyance Day," April 1, 1976.
The line is currently owned by Norfolk Southern Railroad and leased to Central NY Railroad with New York, Susquehanna, and Western Railway trains operating over it. The viaduct is still in continuous use today.
This sign is dedicated to the late William S. Young, a renowned railroad historian and author of Starrucca: the Bridge of Stone.
Book is available at www.susqcolibrary.org
Erected by Rail-Trails Council of NEPA, Endless Mountains Heritage Region, and Other Donors.
Location. 41° 57.928′
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 9 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Starrucca Viaduct (approx. 0.2 miles away); Site of St. John's Church and Cemetery (approx. 0.3 miles away); Mother Theresa Maxis Duchemin (approx. 1.4 miles away); “Go, and Be Baptized” (approx. 3 miles away); The Susquehanna River (approx. 3 miles away); Joseph Smith (approx. 3 miles away); a different marker also named Joseph Smith (approx. 8.1 miles away); Windsor (approx. 8.2 miles away in New York). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Lanesboro.
Also see . . .
1. Starrucca Viaduct Collection in the Library of Congress. (Submitted on June 15, 2017, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. Starrucca Viaduct History. (Submitted on June 15, 2017, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
3. Starrucca Viaduct Flyover. (Submitted on September 8, 2017, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
Categories. • Man-Made Features • Railroads & Streetcars •
Credits. This page was last revised on September 8, 2017. This page originally submitted on June 15, 2017, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 85 times since then and 8 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on June 15, 2017, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.