The Dix Bridge - Spanning Saratoga and Washington Counties
The Dix Bridge formally joins Saratoga and Washington Counties within the Hudson Crossing Park. Once closed to all foot and vehicle traffic and flagged for demolition, it was rehabilitated thanks to a group of dedicated individuals and organizations. The Dix Bridge now serves as the keystone of Hudson Crossing Park, bridging communities and inviting bicyclists, pedestrians, snowmobilers, and skiers to cross the Hudson River. It also serves 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 and the Empire State Trail, which, when completed in 2020, will be a continuous 750-mile route spanning the state from New York City to Canada and Buffalo to Albany, creating the longest multi-use state trail in the nation.
The site itself has great historic significance. This was a well-traveled crossroad for the Native Americans, as well as a site of importance during the Battles of Saratoga. Standing in the center of the bridge and looking to the north, visitors can still see the cuts in the river-bank where British General John Burgoyne's troops crossed the Hudson on a bridge constructed of "Bateaux,” 30' long flat-bottomed, flat-sided, double-ended crafts. More than 6,000 people traversed this area in the fall of 1777 and the crossing came to be known as Burgoyne's "Bridge of Boats".
In the late 1800's any who wanted to cross the Hudson River near Schuylerville. were charged a toll and likely crossed down-river near the current Route 29 Bridge or up-river near the current Route 4 Northumberland Bridge. Local residents and business owners, recognizing that the tolls were detrimental to encouraging people from visiting and shopping in Schuylerville, fought for the right to construct a “free bridge” using private funds.
Built by F. R. Hawkins Iron Works of Springfield, Massachusetts, construction began on the bridge on June 5, 1895 and was completed three months later. As noted in the Schuylerville Standard, “Much praise is due all who in any way participated in and helped this great enterprise to completion, but special mention should be made of the work and contributions of David A. Bullard, Lemon Thomson, John A. Dix (who later served as Governor of New York State from 1911-1913), A.W. Hitchcock, Mr. Blandy, Dr. N.C. Harris, and others.”