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Crossing the Hudson: Historic Bridges and Tunnels of the River
Donald E. Wolf
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Date Listed:
2010-06-21 12:11:34
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Crossing the Hudson

Historic Bridges and Tunnels of the River

By Donald E. Wolf.

Cloth with dust jacket, 6x9, 288 pages, photos, 1 map.

"In Crossing the Hudson, Donald Wolf shows with a fine eye for detail how the engineering accomplishments embodied in bridges and tunnels are inseparably linked to the larger social and political context in which they are conceived and built. This extremely well written book not only provides revealing insights into the history of the Hudson River, its environs, and their people and infrastructure, but also demonstrates in case after case how interesting the stories surrounding them can be." —Henry Petroski, Aleksandar S. Vesic Professor of Civil Engineering and Professor of History, Duke University, author of Engineers of Dreams

"Crossing the Hudson is a great addition to the literature on railroad and vehicular bridges. Based on extensive research in local archives as well as published materials, supplemented by interviews, it provides a solid understanding of the political and engineering challenges surrounding the construction of the Holland and Lincoln Tunnels, the George Washington Bridge, and the many bridges farther up the Hudson. All presented in a clear and often lively style, and with some touches of humor too."—Jameson W. Doig, Princeton University

"Fog, tide, ice, and human error—before the American Revolution those who ventured to cross the vast Hudson Valley waterway did so on ferryboats powered by humans, animals, and even fierce winds. Before that war, not a single Hudson River bridge or tunnel had been built. It wasn’t until Americans looked to the land in the fight for independence that the importance of crossing the river efficiently became a subject of serious interest, especially militarily. Later, the needs of a new transportation system became critical—when steam railroads first rolled along there was no practical way to get them across the water without bridges.

"Crossing the Hudson continues this story soon after the end of the war, in 1805, when the first bridge was completed. Donald E. Wolf simultaneously tracks the founding of the towns and villages along the water’s edge and the development of technologies such as steam and internal combustion that demanded new ways to cross the river. As a result, innovative engineering was created to provide for these resources.

"From hybrid, timber arch, and truss bridges on stone piers to long-span suspension and cantilevered bridges, railroad tunnels, and improvements in iron and steel technology, the construction feats that cross the Hudson represent technical elegance and physical beauty. Crossing the Hudson reveals their often multileveled stories—a history of where, why, when, and how these structures were built; the social, political, and commercial forces that influenced decisions to erect them; the personalities of the planners and builders; the unique connection between a builder and his bridge; and the design and construction techniques that turned mythical goals into structures of utility and beauty.

"Donald E. Wolf worked in engineering for approximately forty years before switching to writing about it. He is the author of Big Dams and Other Dreams and Turner’s First Century."

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1 Waterford, the First Bridge
  • Chapter 2 Steam and a Bridge at Troy
  • Chapter 3 Three Railroad Bridges at Albany
  • Chapter 4 The Last of the Railroad Bridges
  • Chapter 5 The Railroad Tunnels
  • Chapter 6 The Bear Mountain Bridge
  • Chapter 7 The Holland and Lincoln Tunnels
  • Chapter 8 The George Washington Bridge
  • Chapter 9 The Mid-Hudson Bridge
  • Chapter 10 The Rip Van Winkle Bridge
  • Chapter 11 The Tappan Zee Bridge
  • Chapter 12 The Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge
  • Chapter 13 The Newburgh-Beacon Bridges
  • Chapter 14 Epilogue