The Dunn Memorial Bridge

Dunn Memorial BridgeHoxsie’s going to show you some pretty pictures for a little while. We came across a huge trove of local picture postcards from the Tichnor Collection at Digitalcommonwealth.org, a Bay State resource that knows no borders, apparently. This is a lovely print of the “new” Dunn Memorial Bridge connecting Albany and Rensselaer, in its lifted position to allow one of the Hudson River Day Liners (presumably) through.

We’ve written about the Dunn a number of times before, of course. It was first proposed to replace the Greenbush bridge in 1927, when the original bridge was 45 years old, and its draw span was considered a hindrance to the growing traffic coming up the river and needing to cross from Rensselaer. For a minute, there was talk of a tunnel. But it wasn’t to be, and on August 19, 1933, a new bridge, still with a lift span to accommodate river traffic, was opened – the practical steel bridge you see here. It remained the only motor vehicle crossing at Albany until 1968, when the Patroon Island Bridge opened. This Dunn Memorial was replaced by the next new Dunn Memorial Bridge in 1971.

A few details from the postcard. This, of course, is the Delaware and Hudson Railroad Building, the headquarters (not a station) of the venerable railroad, and now the headquarters of SUNY.
Here, the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, not yet shadowed or dwarfed by buildings of the Empire State Plaza. The Alfred E. Smith State Office Building appears prominently, with the roof of the Capitol visible just past the ship’s smokestack. In reality, there would have been smoke. Everywhere.

As a reminder, the Dunn Memorial is named for Albany’s other Congressional Medal of Honor winner, Private Parker Dunn of Morton Avenue, who was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously after the First World War. Here’s his citation:

“When his battalion commander found it necessary to send a message to a company in the attacking line and hesitated to order a runner to make the trip because of the extreme danger involved, Pfc. Dunn, a member of the intelligence section, volunteered for the mission. After advancing but a short distance across a field swept by artillery and machinegun fire, he was wounded, but continued on and fell wounded a second time. Still undaunted, he persistently attempted to carry out his mission until he was killed by a machinegun bullet before reaching the advance line.”

2 thoughts on “The Dunn Memorial Bridge

  1. Robert N. Going

    Parker Dunn was christened Patrick Francis Dunn and was raised by his aunt and uncle along with his cousin/virtual sister, who later became a nun and taught for many decades in the Albany diocese. She was my ninth grade homeroom teacher and one day told us all about her “brother” and read us the above citation. When she took her vows she was told to write down three choices for her religious name. She wrote, “Patrick Francis Patrick Francis Patrick Francis” and that’s how she became Sister Patrick Francis, CSJ. She was present at the dedication of both bridges named for her brother and kept his legacy alive for all of her 103 years.

    1. carljohnson Post author

      Thanks for that. It’s surprising how little information about him there is . . . everything seems to key off the citation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *