Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Lewiston in Niagara County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Suspension Bridge Tollhouse

July 21, 1899 to November 2, 1962

 
 
Suspension Bridge Tollhouse Marker image. Click for full size.
By Anton Schwarzmueller, July 5, 2014
1. Suspension Bridge Tollhouse Marker
Inscription. This tollhouse was part of the Lewiston-Queenston Suspension Bridge which spanned the Lower Niagara River at the foot of the Niagara Escarpment near today’s Artpark.

Historic Lewiston Bridge Linked U.S. with Canada
After the first Lewiston suspension bridge was destroyed by a wind storm in 1864, people and businesses immediately began discussions about replacing it. Because railroads and trolleys were popular, and the scenic Great Gorge Railway was looking to complete its beltway loop by crossing the river with electric trolleys in both Niagara Falls and Lewiston, work began on the new bridge in the late 1890s. Between 1864 and 1899, Lewiston and Queenston were serviced by a ferry boat.

Opening Day Festivities
On July 21, 1899, the bridge was “bedecked with bunting and flags from both countries, the Stars and Stripes and the Union Jack.” Dignitaries met in the middle of the bridge for a ceremony and then rode trolley cars to Queenston Heights Park where an elaborate luncheon was served. This photo captures people walking across the span after ceremonies were over. There were few, if any, automobiles in the area at that time.

When the new steel arched bridge was built, the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission attempted to sell the suspension bridge, but there were no takers. The bridge

Eastward View Suspension Bridge Tollhouse and Marker image. Click for full size.
By Anton Schwarzmueller, July 5, 2014
2. Eastward View Suspension Bridge Tollhouse and Marker
Perpendicular free parking here on Center Street.
was dismantled and sold for scrap. Its last day of service was November 2, 1962.

McKinley Visits Bridge the Morning of His Assassination
On September 6, 1901, President William McKinley and his wife were scheduled for a “restful day” while attending the Pan-American Exposition, a World’s Fair, that was being held in Buffalo.

At 9am they departed on a train to tour Niagara Falls and Lewiston. They boarded the Great Gorge Railway in Niagara Falls and “savored the magnificence of the Niagara area” during their ride along the gorge wall, just feet from the swirling whirlpools and rapids of the Niagara River. When they arrived in Lewiston, they took the train ride halfway across the Lewiston-Queenston Suspension bridge and then began their trip back to Niagara Falls for lunch at the International Hotel, “with time built into the schedule for the president to enjoy a cigar and fine view.”

They returned later that afternoon to Buffalo where the president greeted the public in the Temple of Music. Anarchist Leon Czolgosz got in the receiving line and shot the President with a hidden pistol at close range.

President McKinley died Eight days later.

Saving a piece of History: How the Tollhouse was Salvaged and Restored
A long-time toll collector from the Town of Cambria retired in 1962 when the bridge

Suspension Bridge Tollhouse and Marker image. Click for full size.
By Anton Schwarzmueller, July 5, 2014
3. Suspension Bridge Tollhouse and Marker
View from Center Street parking. Chamber of Commerce at left. Lewiston Academy marker at center.
was decommissioned. He was given the tollhouse as a retirement gift. He put it in his backyard, put shelves in it, and used it as a garden shed. The property was sold several times before the Bruno DiBella Family purchased the property in 2010. A neighbor told the DiBellas about the tollhouse and its historical significance. In the summer of of 2011, the DiBellas contacted the Historical Association of Lewiston, asking if the organization would be interested in obtaining it as a donation. The Association said yes, and the wheels were set in motion to restore it.

The Niagara Falls Bridge Commission, Lewiston Garden Club, Lewiston/Niagara-on-the-Lake Rotory Club, and the Kiwanis Club of Lewiston, helped with expenses, while volunteer Robert H. Welsh performed the restoration. Emery Simon and Greg Marin also donated moving and flooring services.

The tollhouse is on permanent loan to the Village of Lewiston from the Historical Association of Lewiston. It was dedicated on this Academy Park site on June 1, 2012. (Accession #2011.13)
 
Erected by Historical Association of Lewiston, Inc.
 
Location. 43° 10.338′ N, 79° 1.949′ W. Marker is in Lewiston, New York, in Niagara County. Marker is at the intersection of Center Street (New York State Route 18F) and

Suspension Bridge Tollhouse and Marker image. Click for full size.
By Anton Schwarzmueller, July 5, 2014
4. Suspension Bridge Tollhouse and Marker
Approaching from Center Street parking
South 9th Street, on the right when traveling east on Center Street. Touch for map. Marker is on the grounds of Academy Park, next the Chamber of Commerce house. Marker is at or near this postal address: 895 Center Street, Lewiston NY 14092, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Lewiston Academy (a few steps from this marker); Dedicated to the Men and Women (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Tuscaroras Defend Lewiston Against 1813 British Attack (about 600 feet away); Tuscarora Heroes Monument (about 600 feet away); Site of Hustler's Tavern (approx. 0.2 miles away); Opera Hall (approx. ¼ mile away); Hennepin Hall (approx. 0.3 miles away); Kelsey Tavern (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Lewiston.
 
Also see . . .
1. Historic Lewiston, New York. (Submitted on July 28, 2014, by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York.)
2. Niagara Falls Bridge Commission. (Submitted on July 28, 2014, by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York.)
3. Niagara Frontier Chapter NRHS - Niagara Gorge Belt Line. (Submitted on July 28, 2014, by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York.)
 
Categories. Bridges & ViaductsPoliticsRailroads & Streetcars
 
Suspension Bridge Tollhouse View Towards South 9th Street image. Click for full size.
By Anton Schwarzmueller, July 5, 2014
5. Suspension Bridge Tollhouse View Towards South 9th Street
I actually noticed the tollhouse and the adjacent Lewiston Academy marker while parked at the supermarket across South 9th Street.
Suspension Bridge Tollhouse image. Click for full size.
By Anton Schwarzmueller, July 5, 2014
6. Suspension Bridge Tollhouse
Rear view.
Suspension Bridge Tollhouse and Marker image. Click for full size.
By Anton Schwarzmueller, July 5, 2014
7. Suspension Bridge Tollhouse and Marker
East side, looking west.
Map of Historic Village of Lewiston image. Click for full size.
By Anton Schwarzmueller, July 5, 2014
8. Map of Historic Village of Lewiston
This board faces away from the street parking at the marker. In the 3rd picture above, the back and supports of the board are seen.
Suspension Bridge and Great Gorge Route image. Click for full size.
Al Patterson Collection, undated
9. Suspension Bridge and Great Gorge Route
"Great Gorge Route * An IRC Park and River Division car is crossing the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge towards Canada. (Note the large Canadian Customs House at the far end of the bridge) It appears that the motorman forgot to change the destination sign as it shows 'CHIPPEWA' on the wrong end." Picture taken from the 2002 calendar of the Niagara Frontier Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society. The International Railway Company (IRC) owned the Great Gorge Route.
<i>Suspension Bridge at Lewiston.</i> image. Click for full size.
Postcard by H.L. Woehler, circa 1905
10. Suspension Bridge at Lewiston.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on July 28, 2014, by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York. This page has been viewed 258 times since then and 36 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on July 28, 2014, by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York.   10. submitted on February 1, 2015. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
Paid Advertisement