Albany, Troy, and the bridge

In 1841, the residents of Albany were still hoping for a bridge, and the residents of Troy were still hoping they wouldn’t get it. Troy and Waterford had the only bridges across the Hudson at the time, which were considered a tremendous commercial advantage. In addition, it was certain that a bridge at Albany would impede the travel of ships up the Hudson, and kill commerce at Troy. (Before steam became the primary means of locomotion, sailing ships plied the river, and getting a sailing ship through the small opening of a lift or swing bridge is no easy task.) So it was that the American Masonic Register, published here in Albany, lamented the narrow-mindedness of our neighbors to the north:

The question of a Bridge at Albany, as we expected, is now agitating their minds . . . In fact every effort is making by them to prevent the construction of the bridge . . . The idea that a Bridge at Albany will injure Troy they know to be untrue; unless it be that they count upon the travel which is forced that way at certain seasons of the year, owing to the impossibility of Ferrying at Albany . . . One of the resolutions passed at a meeting of theirs, plainly shows a selfish spirit, and proves that it is the particular interest of Troy they seek to advance, to the prejudice of Albany. The resolution says, “On the ground of public convenience, Troy already having a bridge across the Hudson River by means of a rail road from Greenbush connecting with the Schenectady road, will when the great Eastern rail road is completed, offer every facility to travellers.” The citizens of Albany have loaned the credit of their city for the construction of the West Stockbridge rail road. Troy by defeating the bridge and connecting with the road is determined to enjoy the benefit of our enterprise. Is it right – is it just?

Between the concerns of Troy and the powerful ferry lobby (snicker not!), it would be another 25 years before Albany finally got a bridge across the river, the now-historic Livingston Avenue Bridge.

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