When Bridges Were Bridges

Bridge over Mohawk River at Scotia.jpgNot sure just when this undated postcard of the original Western Gateway Bridge was made, but the bridge itself, a graceful concrete arch structure, opened in December 1925. Previously, Schenectady and Scotia were connected by a trolley bridge between Schonowe Avenue and Washington Avenue.

Four men died in an accident during the Western Gateway’s construction in 1923, and a missing fifth contributed to the persistent rumor that one man was encased in a concrete arch footing. (Larry Hart finally put this rumor to rest.) There was a weeklong celebration of its opening in the summer of 1924, including fireworks on the river that drew 75,000 people.

It was demolished in 1974, having been replaced by a graceless steel span that was given the same name despite being unlovely and not having a dangerous curve. Many of the Belgian pavers that made up its deck found their way into local walkways and gardens.

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