Astoria, Event
Sep 30, 2016

The Hell Gate Bridge Centennial Celebration Continues

Celebrate the centennial of the Hell Gate Bridge on Monday with a lecture and exhibit at the GAHS.

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My favorite photo I’ve taken of the Hell Gate Bridge.

The Hell Gate Bridge is one of the most distinctive symbols of Astoria, and we are approaching its centennial. Two dates are important in the bridge’s history—construction on the bridge ended September 30, 1916 (100 years ago today!) and it was dedicated and opened on March 9, 1917. Events marking this anniversary started earlier this month with a walking tour in Astoria Park, and the celebration continues next Monday, October 3 at 6:30pm with a lecture and an exhibit at the Greater Astoria Historical Society.

Monday’s lecture is entitled Building The Hell Gate Bridge with Dave ‘The Bridge Man’ Frieder. He’ll be talking about the construction of the bridge, which is extremely sturdy. Discover Magazine once published a fairly famous assertion that if humans were to disappear, giving nature full run of the place, the Hell Gate Bridge would be the last to fall of all of NYC’s bridges. Monday’s lecture will also feature a special guest Allan Renz, grandson of bridge builder Gustav Lindenthal. Be sure to also check out the new exhibit up at the Historical Society, Building the Hell Gate Bridge – The Photography of Dave Frieder.

Here’s a quote from the text panel of the exhibit, provided to us by the GAHS:

The New York Connecting Railroad was an aggressive and masterful undertaking by a corporate giant, the Pennsylvania Railroad. Its centerpiece was the remarkable Hell Gate Bridge. As the late rail historian Vincent Seyfried reminds us, “That a railroad could accomplish all this … fills us with awe. No private entity had ever wrought such a supreme feat as this before, and indeed, nothing like it has been done since.”

Engineer Gustav Lindenthal worked to create a historically noteworthy, substantial and visually unforgettable railroad entrance to our city. Assistant engineer O.H. Ammann sums up the Hell Gate Bridge’s significance in a 1917 Report: “It is only with a broad sense for beauty and harmony that a monumental bridge can be created. The bridge may be well said to be one of the finest creations of engineering art

Additional events for the Hell Gate Bridge Centennial being considered are another walking tour, an Instagram meetup, and more exhibits and lectures. The schedule is tentative at this time; we’ll share more details once they are set. Bob Singleton of the GAHS also told us that they “would also like to put together a Teacher’s Guide for the bridge for community schools as well as tours.” Sounds good to us.

To support the work of the GAHS, and to sport some stylish tshirt action, check out their shirt options in their store. The one displays official logo of the centennial is in the upper right ($15).

Building The Hell Gate Bridge with Dave ‘The Bridge Man’ Frieder
Monday, October 5, 7pm; exhibit available for viewing at 6:30pm
Greater Astoria Historical Society
35-20 Broadway
Admission: $5 (members free)
These programs are supported by public funds from the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs.

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About Meg Cotner

Meg Cotner was trained as a harpsichordist and now works as a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of "Food Lovers' Guide to Queens," and is a skilled and avid home cook, baker, and preserver.

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