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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • STAY ONE JUMP AHEAD OF TROUBLE, 1945

Poughkeepsie Panorama: 1908

Poughkeepsie Panorama: 1908

The Hudson River circa 1908. "Steamer landings, Poughkeepsie, New York." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

 

As it looks Now

The Poughkeepsie Waterfront.

The trains have vanished

The rail bridge in the background, built in the late 1880's, saw its last train almost 40 years ago. It once provided a direct and heavily traveled freight route to the Cedar Hill yards in New Haven. Freights also could access the New York Central's Putnam line, which provided the only high-and-wide clearances to New York City.

Starting in the 1950's, economic changes, the development of the Interstate Highway system, and the woes of the region's freight railroads led to a steady decline in the bridge's freight traffic (passenger service had ended decades earlier). A fire heavily damaged the bridge in 1974, and its then-owner Conrail shut it down rather than making repairs.

After many years of abandonment, a nonprofit group took ownership of the bridge and restored it as a pedestrian walkway/linear park. It opened for that purpose in October 2009 and is now a popular tourist attraction. The trains, alas, are likely gone forever.

With the Poughkeepsie Bridge having seen its last freight, and with freight trains prohibited from going through Penn Station, the Hudson River is a huge barrier to freight traffic. Except for a small amount served by carfloat barges in New York Harbor, almost all rail freight heading east of the Hudson River has to use the bridge at Selkirk, which is just south of Albany and nearly 150 miles upstream from the river's mouth.

Brinckerhoff Ferry

The ferryboat was for a time a historic exhibit at Mystic Seaport. Sadly, it was scrapped. Here is a postcard view.

The Boys in the Boat

I just finished "The Boys In The Boat" by Daniel James Brown, the story of the 1936 Olympic eight-man rowing U.S. entry from the University of Washington. Was surprised to learn what a huge spectator sport rowing was in the early '30s. And each year the college national championships for varsity, JV, and freshman team took place on the Hudson in Poughkeepsie, where up to 50,000-100,000 people often would gather for the event. Excellent book, by the way.

 
THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG
Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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