Crossing the Dingmans Ferry Bridge on the Way to GearFest 2012

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Dan: One of my favorite places on earth is the Dingmans Ferry Bridge. To the best of my knowledge, it is the last privately owned bridge on a public road in the US.

It crosses the Delaware River between NJ and PA. We crossed on the way to GearFest, and that’s when Judie and Kevin had a chance to see “old school Bridge tech” at work. Here’s a look…

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The Bridge at Dingmans Ferry traces its roots to the mid 18th century. In 1735, in the Upper Delaware River Valley, the river marked the western frontier of the American Colonies. Andrew Dingman, a Dutchman from Kinderhook, NY, was among the first Europeans to settle in the area along the western bank of the Delaware River near what is now Dingmans Falls. By 1740, several grist mills and sawmills had sprung along Dingmans Creek. Andrew Dingman had constructed a flat boat ferry and was operating a ferry service joining the Old Mine Road (See the Old Mine Road (Wikipedia))in New Jersey to Bethany Pike, which is now Route 739, in Pennsylvania. Prior to the arrival of the Europeans, the area was inhabited by the Lenape Indians. Initial relations between the Native Americans and the European settlers were cooperative and peaceful but the infamous Walking Purchase of 1737 Purchase (See Walking Purchase PHMC) displaced the Lenape and a period of violence ensued. Many settlements along the Delaware were attacked. Andrew Dingman’s son, Isaac was shot and killed in 1771. The Lenape sided with the French in the French and Indian Wars. Eventually the Lenape were driven into the Susquehanna Valley and beyond. Today they are in Oklahoma and Ontario Canada.

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Today the Dingmans Bridge remains an important member of the community, providing a vital transportation link between Pike County and Sussex County, regular employment for construction workers and toll collectors and an attraction to visitors. As you cross, much of the bridge you see dates back to the original three spans erected in 1900 …

Judie: Before we even crossed it, I remarked that it sounded like Frey’s stronghold “The Twins” in the Game of Thrones series. Yes, I am a total GoT junkie; don’t mind me.

Crossing the Dingmans Ferry Bridge on the Way to GearFest 2012

But the idea of a family (or a privately held local company) owning and operating a toll bridge in 2012 and being able to collect a toll when the public uses it, pretty much blew my mind. What a throwback to olden times!

More info can be found here.

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About the Author

Dan Cohen
Having a father who was heavily involved in early laser and fiber-optical research, Dan grew up surrounded by technology and gadgets. Dan’s father brought home one of the very first video games when he was young and Dan remembers seeing a “pre-release” touchtone phone. (When he asked his father what the “#” and “*” buttons were his dad said, “Some day, far in the future, we’ll have some use for them.”) Technology seemed to be in Dan’s blood but at some point he took a different path and ended up in the clergy. His passion for technology and gadgets never left him. Dan is married to Raina Goldberg who is also an avid user of Apple products. They live in New Jersey with their golden doodle Nava.