Beautifully engraved antique stock certificate from the Poughkeepsie Bridge Company dating back to the 1880's. This document, which is signed by the company President and Secretary, was printed by the American Bank Note Company and measures approximately 10 3/4" (w) by 7" (h).
The certificate features a broad vignette of the Poughkeepsie Bridge - now a pedestrian a walkway known as Walkway over the Hudson.
You will receive the exact certificate pictured.
The Poughkeepsie Bridge Company was incorporated in New York on May 31, 1871 to build a railroad bridge across the Hudson River at Poughkeepsie. Contracts were awarded to the American Bridge Company for construction, but the Panic of 1873 intervened and the plan collapsed.
In 1886, the Manhattan Bridge Building Company was organized to finance the construction. Among the prominent backers was Henry Clay Frick, the coal tycoon and associate of Andrew Carnegie. The Union Bridge Company of Athens, Pennsylvania, which had completed the Michigan Central cantilever bridge at Niagara, was subcontracted to build the Poughkeepsie Bridge. Dawson, Symmes and Usher were the foundation engineers, while John F. O'Rourke, P. P. Dickinson and Arthur B. Paine were the structural engineers. The bridge was designed by Charles Macdonald and Arthur B. Paine. As is typical for cantilever bridges, construction was carried out by constructing cribwork, masonry piers, towers, fixed truss sections on falsework, and finally cantilever sections, with the final cantilever interconnection (suspended) spans floated out or raised with falsework.
The first train crossed the bridge on December 29, 1888, and it was formally opened for scheduled passenger service on January 1, 1889.
Upon completion, the Poughkeepsie Bridge Company formed a nucleus for a number of lines east and west of the bridge, the whole forming a system to connect the coal fields of Pennsylvania with points in New England. The bridge was used by the Central New England and and Western Railroad Company, forming a line from Campbell Hall, New York, to Hartford, Connecticut.
In 1892, following failure of both the Central New England and Western Railroad Company and the Poughkeepsie Bridge Company to pay their bond interest, a reorganization of the two was effected as the Philadelphia, Reading and New England Railroad Company.
Considered an engineering marvel of the day, the bridge has seven main spans. The total length is 6,768 feet, including approaches, and the top of the deck is 212 feet above water. It is a multispan cantilever truss bridge, having two river-crossing cantilever spans of 548 feet each, one center span of 546 feet, two anchor (connecting) spans of 525 feet, two shore spans of 201 feet each, a 2,641 feet approach viaduct on the eastern bank and a 1,033 feet approach viaduct on the western bank. All seven spans were built of newly available Bessemer Process "mild" steel, while the two approach viaducts were built of iron. It formed part of the most direct rail route between the industrial northeastern states and the midwestern and western states.
The bridge was the only fixed Hudson River crossing between Albany and New York City until the construction of the Bear Mountain (road) Bridge in 1924, and was advertised as a way to avoid New York City car floats and railroad passenger ferries. Ownership of the bridge passed through several railroads including the Central New England Railway (CNE), New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad (NH), Penn Central (PC) and Conrail.
During World War II, the bridge was a vital link for war freight traffic, guarded around the clock by United States Army soldiers. At its peak, nearly 3,500 train cars crossed over the Hudson on a daily basis.
Traffic across the bridge began a slow decline in the 1950's as industry shrank in New England and with it the need for the raw materials railroads excelled at transporting. Traffic from the connecting New York, Ontario & Western ceased when that railroad shut down on March 30, 1957. Another connection, the coal-, slate-, and cement-hauling Lehigh & New England, shut down in 1961. At the same time, some new traffic began crossing the bridge, such as the New Haven's "Super Jet", one of the first trains to carry truck trailers. The Penn Central's acquisition of the New Haven in 1969 discouraged connecting traffic with the Erie Lackawanna, which competed with other Penn Central routes. After 1971, only one through train in each direction, for Erie Lackawanna, crossed the bridge.
On May 8, 1974 a tie fire damaged about 700 feet of decking and underlying girders on the bridge's eastern section. It was likely started by a spark from an eastbound freight train that had just crossed the span. The Penn Central had neglected the bridge's fire-protection system, which had no water on the day of the fire, and had laid off employees who kept watch for such fires.
Seven years passed; pieces of the bridge's eastern approach viaduct over Poughkeepsie began falling onto U.S. Route 9 below, damaging passing vehicles. In response, the city sued Conrail and forced it to spend $300,000 in 1983 to remove the decking over the superstructure. Conrail then sought to dispose of the unused bridge and eventually abandoned and tore up the Maybrook Line between Hopewell Junction and Maybrook, New York in 1983–1984.
On June 4, 1998, following the long nonpayment of Dutchess and Ulster County taxes on the bridge by prior owners Gordon Schreiber Miller and his successor, Vito Moreno, Moreno deeded the bridge to a nonprofit volunteer organization called Walkway Over the Hudson, which took title through its nonprofit New York corporation, the Poughkeepsie-Highland Railroad Bridge Company, Inc., hoping to turn it into a pedestrian and cyclist walkway.
The opening ceremony for the Walkway Over the Hudson took place on October 3, 2009. At the time, the bridge was the longest footbridge in the world. It held that title until fall 2016, when it was surpassed by the 7,974-foot-long Mile Into the Wild Walkway in Colorado. This walkway is a little more modest, however, as it stands only a few feet above ground level.
All of our pieces are original - we do not sell reproductions. If you ever find out that one of our pieces is not authentic, you may return it for a full refund of the purchase price and any associated shipping charges.