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Entropy and history

On Christmas, wakanomori took me to see a decrepit old bridge over a rail trail, and I had the fun of walking across it on the sturdy steel beam (and clutching the steel sides). He posted photos, but his account is locked, so with his permission, I'm sharing some here (i.e., these are all his photos).

From underneath:

Walking across (see the hole behind me?):

But the bridge wasn't the only thing that was falling down. We also saw disconnected utility poles, with their beautiful insulator caps still in place, and a HUGE barn (this, interestingly, being restored: it was in the process of being set in place on a new foundation), but saddest, a homestead from the 1700s, complete with a historic marker, and still owned by the original family, but falling apart:

The marker says,
New Scotland
Historical Association

Probably the family itself doesn't have the funds to restore the building, and maybe public monies aren't available. Probably there's some grant out there somewhere that could be applied for, but it would take someone willing to make that effort, and the family being willing to accept it.

Searching for more information, I found text from a tour of historic buildings in the area, which says that the land was deeded to John McCoughtry by Stephen van Rensselaer. As you may know (Bob), New York State was originally a colony of the Dutch. The van Rensselaer family were important landowners from those days.


( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 29th, 2016 04:16 pm (UTC)
Ah, you've been up by me! I've been itching to go across that bridge!

The moving of the barn was a big event last spring. They actually took the utility wires down and rolled over them, as the barn is too tall to go under no matter what they did.
Dec. 29th, 2016 04:22 pm (UTC)
Oh wow! Yes, when we mentioned the barn to my dad, it turned out he knew one of the people who's worked on it. So glad that they're doing this work--now if only something could be done to save that homestead, too....

As for the bridge, it's very secure feeling, actually, so long as you stick to that girder, and the girder is plenty wide. I hope you get a chance soon!

Edited at 2016-12-29 04:23 pm (UTC)
Dec. 29th, 2016 04:24 pm (UTC)
PS about the bridge
Do you know what it was used for, back in the day? Right now there's nothing but cornfields and wilderness on either side of it, no indication of why a bridge would have been needed.
Dec. 29th, 2016 04:27 pm (UTC)
Re: PS about the bridge
It's a farm access bridge for the old Bender Melon farm, so that they could get wagons and other equipment across; I posted about it a year or so ago. It is certainly a startling sight in the middle of nowhere!
Dec. 29th, 2016 04:28 pm (UTC)
Re: PS about the bridge
Thank you so much; we were wondering! I will go read your entry. (And apologies for missing it at the time; I look at my friends list in a much more scattershot way these days and miss more than I see, unfortunately...)
Dec. 29th, 2016 04:50 pm (UTC)
What a wonderful way to spend Christmas. Old bridges are so amazing. Some day, I'd love to drive around the country taking pictures of them.

I didn't know insulators existed anywhere any more. That's too cool! They were really popular back in the 70's--maybe 60's, too--and people would collect them wherever they could find them.

How sad about the homestead. It's still really neat looking.
Dec. 29th, 2016 05:51 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I used to see them in people's windows--the insulators, I mean.

It was a good Christmas--good to see my dad, and an added bonus that my brother and his family came over.
Dec. 29th, 2016 05:05 pm (UTC)
Love these pics, but you knew I would! :o)
Dec. 29th, 2016 05:52 pm (UTC)
I know your love of bridges!
Dec. 30th, 2016 12:17 pm (UTC)
And we now live six miles from my all time favourite! :o)
Dec. 29th, 2016 05:12 pm (UTC)
It is a pity seeing old buildings falling apart. I was watching this UK show where people would buy these and restore them, but boy... sometimes just getting through the paperwork was a feat in itself.
Dec. 29th, 2016 05:54 pm (UTC)
Yes the paperwork really is! My in-laws used to live in a several-hundred-years-old cottage, and they talked about it. It's crazy. And on the one hand, I understand historical societies don't want shoddy repairs or tacky add-ons, but on the other hand, sometimes they just make people give up in frustration, and that's no good either.
Dec. 29th, 2016 05:24 pm (UTC)
He posted photos, but his account is locked, so with his permission, I'm sharing some here (i.e., these are all his photos).

I love the photo of you on the side of the bridge!


I know how they mean that architecturally, but I still think that's a wonderful thing to be able to say about anyone, homestead or no.

I hope they can get the money to restore it.
Dec. 29th, 2016 05:56 pm (UTC)

... now you've got me thinking about the concrete and abstract meanings of the word, legitimate uses and abuses.

I hope so too.
Dec. 29th, 2016 07:40 pm (UTC)
It could be that the repairs that would necessarily have to bring the building up to code are not consistent with the Historical Preservation guidelines, so restoration is in a Catch 22. Variances from code rules are very pricey, as well as contractors/historians doing historical restoration. They should start a "go fund me".
Dec. 29th, 2016 07:52 pm (UTC)
Exactly: it can be a very pricey, time-consuming process, and people wringing their hands and saying, "You should do something about this" isn't the same as people actually donating money to help you do the thing--and even when you have money, you still (maybe) need someone to help you through the permitting process, and the restoration process.

I might poke around and see if anyone's done anything like suggest a Go Fund Me. There aren't so many 250-year-old buildings in that area that people can be blasé about one falling down.
Dec. 29th, 2016 09:27 pm (UTC)
Love the pics! (Though my heart squeezes at the thought of going over that bridge on the outside)
Dec. 29th, 2016 10:00 pm (UTC)
It was actually very safe; I'm a scaredy cat about heights and falling, but the beam was firm and wide, and you had the side of the bridge to cling to. It was a tolerable-to-me level of risk and excitement :-)
Dec. 30th, 2016 12:24 am (UTC)

Thank you for sharing this

Jan. 1st, 2017 12:15 am (UTC)
Always my pleasure ♥
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )

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