Friday, April 22, 2011

Bridge over the Hutchinson River Photo 8

Photo from Abbat's 1901 book.
The next image that I am reproducing from the Abbatt book is photograph number 8. It is listed in the list of illustrations as “Pell’s Bridge- over the Hutchinson”. This image gave me some pause and its location took a little detective work. What bridge is this? At first reading of the caption the location seems obvious. “The Bridge over the Hutchinson River. (At the old Boston Post Road)” That caption, combined with the caption from the photograph from Wolf’s Lane, photo number 7 which reads- “Hill at Wolf’s Lane, Pelham Manor. (The Hutchinson Bridge is at the foot of the hill about three-quarters of a mile distant)” The two captions seem to indicate the bridge pictured in photo number 8 is the “Hutchinson Bridge” down the hill at the center of Wolfs Lane photograph.
Is the bridge at the bottom of this hill?
Abbatt’s text is also rather unclear. “The illustration show’s Wolf’s Lane where it descends the hill. Passing the Pell or Hay house at it’s foot, they wheeled to the left on the old Post Road and marching along a short causeway which they had traversed the morning, crossed the Hutchinson.” This all makes perfect sense. Looking at a modern map the location from the photograph number 7 is indeed at the corner of Wolf’s Lane and the Boston Post road. However the small size of the foot bridge in photo 8 just doesn’t seem to fit the wide avenue that is depicted in photo number 7. Looking at the modern area of the intersection at Boston Post road and the Hutchinson River Bridge is also not helpful. The land is totally flat with large suburban box stores and malls.
However taking these elements at face value my fist conclusion was that the location for photograph was at the modern intersection of the Boston Post road and what is now the Hutchinson Parkway.
Up until now I have been reading an online copy of this book and I wanted to find an original to examine, especially because my printout didn’t included the map. A quick search reviled that the New York Public library had two copies in the reference library at the 42nd Street location. Looking at the map in a well-worn copy (Number 163 out of a edition of 500) I was able to discover the location of two of the photographs. The second photo of Shore Road I will talk about in a later post.

Seeing that map made me realize that the street names have changed over the last 100+ years. Old Boston Post Road is now Colonial Ave.  and not the Post road of today. With this new information it was easy to line up the old photograph with the modern one. Although the old foot bridge is long gone and the Hutchinson Parkway overpass looms above, the hill in the background remains today. It was this hill where the American troops retreated to and were involved in and artillery duel with British troops on the other side of the Hutchinson River. 
Holga 120N Fuji 100
Pinhole with my new to me 5X7 wood camera.
Side by side then and now

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