The Dix Bridge
The Dix Bridge formally joins Saratoga and Washington Counties within the Hudson Crossing Park. Now re-opened, it serves as the keystone of the
Park ~ bridging communities and inviting bicyclists, pedestrians, snowmobilers, and skiers to cross the Hudson River. It will serve as the local crossing
for the N.Y.S. Canalway Trail, a 546 mile-long shared-use trail following along the N.Y.S. Canal System.
The site itself has great historic significance. This was a well-traveled crossroad for the Native Americans. If you were to stand in the center of the
bridge and look to the north you would see the cuts in the river-bank where General John Burgoyne's troops came to this place and crossed the
Hudson on "Bateaux" 30' long flat-bottomed, flat-sided, double-ended crafts. More than 6000 people traversed this area in the fall of 1777 and the
crossing came to be known as Burgoyne's "Bridge of Boats".
While looking into the origin of the bridge, we have found teh following stories:
In the late 1800's if you had wanted to cross the Hudson River near Schuylerville N.Y.
you would have paid a toll and likely crossed down-river near the current Route #29
Bridge or up-river near the current Route #4 Northumberland Bridge. A local resident
named Clark owned property on the east side of the river. In 1888 he built a beautiful
home for his daughter who was the wife of John Alden Dix. ( John Dix later served as
Governor of New York State from 1911-1913). A second house, a mirror image of the
first, was built for his other daughter and no longer stands. Today, the owners of the Dix
Estate are working together with the Board of Hudson Crossing Park to secure funding to
transfer the estate into the Park for preservation and interpretation.
By 1895, Mr. Clark was annoyed with the crossing tolls and he used his personal funds to
build a "free bridge". With much fanfare, the Sept. 11 1895 "Schuylerville Standard"
announced the opening of the bridge. It had taken three months to complete and was wide
enough to allow teams to pass each other without difficulty. Built by F. R. Hawkins Iron
Works of Springfield, Mass. the Dix Bridge allowed folks to travel into town to trade
without having to pay for the privilege.
READERS, PLEASE NOTE: Recently, we heard another version of how the bridge
was built and share it here. Volunteers at the Park will continue to research this topic and
share here what we turn up. Here is the latest version we have heard from a neighbor:
It has always been told to us that the bridge was initially to be constructed as a free
bridge by the late Mr. Lemon Thomson (1822-1897) and work was completed in
1898 0r 1899 and was in full use by 1900. The town of Thomson was named for him
and he was a lumber merchant. He built two houses which were Mirror images of
each other for his daughters (one of which is our home). His daughter Gertrude
Alden Thomson married his business partner John Alden Dix who later became Gov.
of NY. They formed the Thomson-Dix partnership that sold lumber and then
developed Paper Mills , most notably Wall-Paper Mills. Upon Mr. Thomson's death
Dix purchased his estates equities. Other names Dix was
involved with are Iroquois Paper Co., Blandy Paper Co., American Woodboard Co. and Moose River Lumber Co. He reportedly owned
17,000 acres of woodland and rigidly enforced reforestation practices. The other house Mr. Thomson built was for his daughter Nancy
Sherman Thomson who married State Senator Curtis N. Douglas. That house just north of ours was lost in a fire.
As it now stands, the Dix Bridge, eligible for listing on the National Historic Register, is closed to all traffic (including pedestrian) and is flagged by the
D.O.T. to be removed due to structural damage. The Hudson Crossing Board of Directors has been successful in attempts to postpone this fate and
both Washington and Saratoga Counties support efforts to seek funding to save and rehabilitate this historic structure.
It will be costly - perhaps as much as three million dollars to open the bridge as a shared-use trail. The cost to tear it down however, would most
likely exceed one million dollars. It is truly a marvelous piece of history worth saving!
Dix Bridge Rehabilitation Project
The rehabilitation of the Dix Bridge was funded by a $3.125 million federal Transportation Enhancement Grant.
The bridge provides passage over the Hudson River joining pedestrian, bicycle and snow-mobile trails in Washington and Saratoga counties. The
bridge has become a connection for the Champlain Canalway Trail segments in both counties as a major link in the 62 mile chain of trails from
Waterford through Hudson Crossing Park to Whitehall. Like the Erie Canalway trail, the Champlain Canalway trail utilizes historic towpaths, the
Champlain Canal shoreline, existing local and regional trails, on-street bicycle routes and links to regional and community attractions.
Opened, the Dix Bridge will link trails in Washington and Saratoga Counties. Click here to see more about the trails on the East side of the river.
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Turning Point 5K crosses the NOW OPEN Dix Bridge