New Jersey Roads - NJ 27 - Kingston Bridge
NJ 27 - Kingston Bridge
Before getting to the focal point of this page, we have to cross the Delaware-Raritan Canal (facing southward here). For many years after becoming a state highway, this was NJ 27, and it retains a lot of the charm of backwoods New Jersey.
Here's the original river crossing sign that goes with the original bridge. It has been repainted due to the tourist-ization of the Canal, but if you click for gory closeup, you can see the condition of the underlying paint and/or sign.
An original railroad crossing has been indiscriminately paved over, but the rails and ties were left in situ. It lies just south of the Canal bridge, and you can see that sign in the background of the first photo next to Lou Corsaro's body. (North is to the left, yes.)
Remember that embossed railroad sign from the first photo on the page? Here it is again. Not sure if this is original and left in place, or imported from another crossing or a museum, but it has definitely been repainted (same colors as the repainted Canal sign).
One more old Canal bridge sign, the northbound weight limit sign that probably dates to when current NJ 27 opened to take the brunt of traffic off of this old alignment.
Even though the bridge sits on a quiet, dead-end, nearly abandoned alignment, it is still in New Jersey's bridge inventory.
Looking east along the Delaware-Raritan Canal, and then taking a look back at the wooden! bridge. It's really hard to tell that wood is the structural material until you step to the side, because the pavement is continuous over the bridge.
Lou Corsaro saw one sign I didn't, so this sign associated with the Kingston Bridge is courtesy him. As a preview to what's to come, let's just say there haven't been a lot of replacements since the original wooden bridge. In fact, there's only been one.
The Kingston Bridge, facing south, and the old mill in the background. For site veterans who have seen the Casselman River Bridge on US 40 in Maryland, this isn't exactly of similar construction, but it consists of two inclined approaches with no vertical tangent on top (for the layman: the sides come to a point). In fact, it's older than the Casselman Bridge.
The west side of the bridge, and a closeup of the rework around the center pier. Either the pier (or the northern face) collapsed due to age, something heavy ran over the sign and crumbled it, or it was struck by something large on the Millstone River.
Looking east on the mill side of the river. In the distance is a waterfall of unknown age. Since the mill is in the foreground (just to the right of this photo), I imagine the structure that people are fishing from is the original mill dam.
Here is what I was waiting for, making this the oldest sign on my site. You would think this is probably the oldest American bridge open to vehicular traffic (and please don't count the Natural Bridge in Virginia), but in fact it's not even the oldest one in New Jersey! As Bob Craig pointed out, there is a 1792 bridge over Stony Brook on US 206, and now that he has pointed that out I have photos (click the link in this sentence and scroll to the bottom). Click to read the original stone dedicating the bridge, practically at the halfway point between Philadelphia and New York (and thus an ideal carriage stop), and see the date at the bottom.
The date is also on this builder's stone on the west side of the bridge.
Photos from current NJ 27
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