1930: The Inauguration of the Mid-Hudson Bridge in the Empire State

August 25, 1930

Approximately 25,000 people were on hand for the grand opening of the Mid-Hudson Bridge in southeastern New York. This bridge, which measures about 3,000 feet (910 meters) in length, carries traffic over the Hudson River between the city of Poughkeepsie and the hamlet of Highland. This structure was the world’s sixth longest suspension bridge at the time of its debut.

The plans for the Mid-Hudson Bridge first took shape in 1923, when then-New York Governor Alfred E. Smith signed into the law the bill authorizing construction of the bridge. Ralph Modjeski, one of the leading bridge designers of the early part of the 20th century, was the chief engineer for that construction project. 

The formal dedication ceremonies for the new bridge started on the Poughkeepsie side. Smith, now a former governor, addressed those in attendance. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the incumbent governor (and a future president), likewise spoke to the crowd. Following their addresses, Smith’s wife Catherine cut the ribbon on that side of the bridge. 

The party of dignitaries then made their way to the Highland side of the bridge, where Smith and Roosevelt repeated their addresses for the crowd there. Roosevelt’s wife Eleanor cut the ribbon on that side of the river. The bridge was subsequently opened to pedestrians for an hour before automobiles were allowed to start crossing it.

The Mid-Hudson Bridge, which carries U.S. Route 44 and New York State Route 55 as well as a pedestrian/bicycle route over the river, was designated a New York State Historic Civil Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Civil Engineers in 1983. In 1994, the structure was officially renamed the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Mid-Hudson Bridge. 

Photo Credit: Ufu at English Wikipedia (licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/deed.en)

For more information on the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Mid-Hudson Bridge, please check out https://structurae.net/en/structures/franklin-d-roosevelt-mid-hudson-bridge

3 thoughts on “1930: The Inauguration of the Mid-Hudson Bridge in the Empire State

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  1. A correction should be made to the second paragraph, regarding other vehicular crossings spanning the Hudson River. The Mid-Hudson Bridge opened after both the Holland Tunnel (opened in 1927) and the Bear Mountain Bridge (opened in 1924).

    Some great newsreel footage from the opening day at MHB can be found at:

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