Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Cambridge, NY Life #6 Cambridge, NY Life #6

Historic Shushan Bridge, Shushan, NY, now The Shushan Covered Bridge Museum opened in 1975. Born with the idea that the old bridge, itself the main attraction, would house an ever-changing display of historic artifacts on loan from all over this rural region.

Cambridge, NY is surrounded by covered bridge country, and many of the bridges in the area are listed on the National Historic Register. Folks come from all over just to see the bridges of Bennington, VT and Washington, NY counties. But one bridge is unique above all the rest-- The historic covered footbridge in Cambridge, NY. One of only a handful of intact covered footbridges left in New York state, this beautiful bridge, built in 1890, crosses the Blair Creek and is the smallest and oldest covered pedestrian footbridge in the Northeast.

The bridge was built for the Rice Seed Company and was used as a shortcut by the factory’s employees to get to work. Today, it is still used by the many small businesses occupying Varak Industrial Park. The bridge spans more than the stream, it spans the history of Cambridge, NY. Recently, filmmaker, John Carlson, and performance artist, Katy Schonbeck, produced a documentary that tells the story of the bridge and our town. It's one of 12 documentaries in their Movement In Architecture Series which uses the language of cinema and dance to explore and interpret significant cultural and historic architectural sites around the world.

(Photo: John Carlson)

I love this little bridge and often enjoy sitting on one of its benches as I watch the light play off the stream. It’s a destination for a walk on a summer evening, a place to sit and picnic, or a quiet spot for reflection and contemplation.

But all that aside, the bridge is probably best known as a great place for young couples to “court and spark,” as they used to say. Ask any long-time Cambridge, NY resident about the bridge and you’re sure to get a story about first love.

The historic Covered Footbridge of Cambridge, NY is just another thing I like about Cambridge Life.


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