Uniquely River Edge – The Bridge at the End of Main Street
Journeys into River Edge
Overshadowed by the Zabriskie-Von Steuben House and the adjacent historic structures, the modern day bridge (New Bridge) crossing the Hackensack River at New Bridge is worth a mention by itself.
It is the original bridge, built in 1744, that is most celebrated as it associated with an important chapter in American history . Described as "The bridge that saved a nation", that original bridge and its rolwe in an American retreat from Fort Lee on November 20m 1776 was described by eyewitness Thomas Paine , "Our first object was to secure the bridge over the Hackensack…" as he memorialized the darkest hour in the hopes for American independence as the "times that try men's souls." This strategic crossing was in constant conflict during the war because it was the first bridge above Newark Bay.
But the present structure has a story of it is own. This bridge - a Pratt-type low-truss swing structure - opened Feb. 2, 1889. The bridge was so perfectly balanced that one person alone could rotate the bridge to let ships pass. It used to be the New Bridge Road vehicular bridge between River Edge and New Milford, connecting Main Street to what is now called Old New Bridge Road. When it was proposed that this bridge be replaced by a newer structure, a vigorous campaign ensued. A compromise resulted in land being given to the county in order that the new structure by-pass the older bridge and the historic New Bridge Landing. The 1889 structure was closed to auto traffic in 1956 when replaced by the completed modern-day New Bridge Road bridge.
The old bridge now serves as a picturesque strolling spot as well as a car free passage for commuters from New Milford, Teaneck and Bergenfield heading towards the NJ Transit train station. It is now listed on NJ & National Registers by the Bergen County Historical Society with the distinction of being the oldest highway swing-bridge in New Jersey.
It is unique to the state and Uniquely River Edge.