The Cochecton Bridge Company was incorporated by an Act of the Legislature of the State of New York on April 7, 1817, naming as incorporators:  William Tyler, Benjamin Conklin, Moses Thomas, Oliver H. Calkins, Moses Calkins, Joseph Mitchell and William Brown.  The company was authorized to issue 600 shares of stock at a $50.00 par value per share.

Major Salmon Wheat from Orange County was given the contract for building the bridge. It was completed in 1819, but was so unsubstantial that it was never used and fell of its own weight.  It had only one pier.

in the spring of 1820, Major Wheat moved to Cochecton and began work on another bridge with two piers spanning a distance of about 600 feet.  This bridge was completed in 1822.  It was constructed upon nearly the same plan of the bridge built by the Major across the Neversink river at Bridgeville on the line of the Newburgh and Cochecton Turnpike in the year 1807.  It was known as the arch plan.  The arches consisted of massive white pine timbers.

The Cochecton bridge with its white pine arches was covered and boasted two roadways.  It withstood the storms and floods until April 1846, when the western pier was undermined and fell together with the Pennsylvania and middle spans.

After the fall of the bridge in 1846, a charter for a ferry was obtained from the Legislature of New York State, thru the efforts of the Honorable James C. Curtis.

In 1847, a new bridge known as the "Benton Bridge" was erected on a contract of $10,000.00 and opened for travel in the winter of 1848, but unfortunately in the coming spring, the New York span fell of its own weight to the shore.  As the water was not high, however, it did not float away.

The company then put up a new span on the New York side.  This bridge with three piers was completed in the winter of 1850.

In the spring of 1851, the Pennsylvania span to the Benton Bridge fell and was carried away by the rush of the high water.

Recourse was had again to the ferry and it was not until 1854 that a new span was built at a cost of $15.50 per lineal foot.  Travel resumed until the great flood of February 8, 1857.  At that time the entire bridge was carried away.

The abutments and piers were then raised from four to six feet and a new bridge was erected by Solon Chapin of Easton at a cost of $9,000.00.  This bridge breasted the floods and ice gorges for over 40 years.  In 1902, it was carried away by the breaking of another gorge and after that time an iron bridge was built.




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04 Jul 2023
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