Frazier Bridge, a National Treasure
According to the 2007 Winter Issue of the Adirondack Architectural Heritage Newsletter highlighting Adirondack bridges, The Frazier Bridge is “among the oldest bridges in the world”.
The bridge is a double masonry arched bridge with a cast iron rail. The masonry arches on which the load of the bridge is carried can be seen from the both ends of the LaChute River Walk Trail.
When D. Kelley surveyed the lower falls in 1822, a bridge was built on or about the site of the Frazier Bridge today. In 1836, B.F. Frazier ran a planing mill on the north side of the river above the falls, and in 1845 the same family opened a cabinet-making shop that was near the existing bridge. The present bridge takes its name from that enterprise.
A March 7, 1874 note in the Ticonderoga Sentinel indicated that the old bridge was becoming dilapidated and that a new bridge was needed. A month later a resolution was passed to build an iron bridge of a Cooper Patent.
Sometime in early 1892, the Cooper Patent iron bridge collapsed and in the May 19, 1892 issue of the Sentinel it was reported “a petition for the highway commission to replace the collapsed iron bridge on North Main with an arched stone structure”. In the August 25, 1894 Sentinel, it was reported “Alex Lee is rushing work on the stone bridge. D.M. Arnold, engineer says the stone work should be completed in about a week.”
Local mill operators continually used the road until 1925 when International Paper Company bought Ticonderoga Pulp and Paper Company. The bridge was used for the next thirty-four years as a public means of transportation until 1959 when IP built Building Number 7 and closed North Main Street from Exchange Street to Burgoyne Road. From 1959 to 1972, the road was used as a footpath for mill workers, but in 1972, International Paper built the present plant on Airport Avenue and began demolition on all of the old mill buildings downtown.
Today, the bridge stands as one of the “few reminders of the water-related manufacturing activities that was once centered at the lower falls on the LaChute River.”
LaChute River Walk Trail
This River Walk Trail celebrates the extraordinary variety of industries that clustered around the waterfalls and rapids that punctuate the river’s course through town. Beginning at the Ticonderoga Heritage Museum, located in the office built by Ticonderoga Pulp and Paper Company in 1888, the trail loops around Bicentennial Park, a vast expanse of waterfront greenery reclaimed from the sprawling paper mill and its wood yard.
The Trail continues past pulp mill grindstones, the historic Frazier Bridge (1879; restored 2008) and a whirlpool, where the river takes a sharp bend, to the Richards dam, where water still flows through a former pulp mill flume gate. A new pocket park marks the point where the trail crosses Montcalm Street, heading up Lake George Avenue before returning to the bank of the “upper river,” with close-up views of two more historic dams and a pool teeming with wildlife.
The entire trail, including a loop around the baseball fields (across the covered bridge) measures nearly three miles, with a bracing climb up the last stretch to the high ground where the river leaves Lake George for its two-mile plunge to the foot of Bicentennial Falls, where a handicapped fishing platform sits opposite a car-top boat launch. A dozen wayside exhibits illustrate and describe the history of every stretch of the river.
LaChute River Walk is one of hundreds of community projects supported by PRIDE of Ticonderoga, a non- profit Rural Preservation Company established in 1984 for the purpose of preserving, revitalizing, implementing, directing and effecting (P-R-I-D-E) community develop- ment. PRIDE raises funds to rehabilitate housing, revitalize businesses, conduct community planning and enhance the quality of community life.
Over the course of fifteen years, PRIDE has supported all the steps necessary to turn the industrial waterfront of centuries past into a community asset that celebrates both the natural and the historic resources of the river corridor. The vision that began with a survey of surviving industrial evidence has evolved into a paved path with kiosks and wayside exhibits that tell the stories of the landscape.
Pick up a copy of the interpretive guide to the lower river at the Ticonderoga Heritage Museum.
PRIDE of Ticonderoga
P. O. Box 348
Ticonderoga, New York 12883P
(518) 585-6366 F (518) 585-2773
Please CLICK HERE to view a brochure and map.