In 1848, High Bridge, the oldest surviving bridge in New York City was built to bring water to the burgeoning city of New York. Aside from transporting water, the bridge connected the metropolitan borough of Manhattan to the lush rural area of the Bronx, so that both city dwellers and those who lived in the country could easily travel back and forth. After being closed for over forty years, the bridge, built in the style of ancient Roman aqueducts, was opened to pedestrians in the summer of 2015.
Here are the top ten secrets of High Bridge, from its origins to the present day.
The Croton Aqueduct Pump House
New York City faced a high demand for water following the Great Fire of New York in 1835. The solution to the lack of fresh water was the Old Croton Aqueduct, which went into service in 1842. It was one of the first modern aqueduct systems in the United States, and brought water across 41 miles by gravity alone. The aqueduct was originally a single pipe that crossed the Harlem River, but it could not sustain the city’s rapidly growing needs. During this time, an engineering team lead by John B. Jervis, started building High Bridge. It opened in 1848 and brought water from the Croton River in Westchester County to Upper Manhattan via two 36-inch pipes inside the bridge. In the early 1960s, the two pipes were replaced by one 90-inch pipe.