March 22, 2022
Calvert Vaux Preservation Alliance (CVPA), the non-profit official friends group for The Point in Staatsburg, is spearheading an effort to reopen the bridge over the railroad tracks at the entrance to the historic carriageway leading to that site. The Point was the creation of Calvert Vaux, one of 19th-century America’s most notable architects and landscape designers, for the Hoyt family in 1855, and in its prime was a remarkable melding of buildings and landscape and an iconic example of the American Picturesque style. The bridge, classified as a Warren truss structure, was built in 1912 to replace an earlier one. For over 50 years the Hoyt family and descendants used it to cross the tracks near the Albany Post Road in Staatsburg hamlet and continue on to their country residence. In the modern era, the bridge was used for years by hikers into Mills Norrie State Park until its closure several years ago due to physical decay. CVPA has commissioned an Historic Structure Report, written by Peter Melewski LLC, on the condition of the bridge including a plan and budget to repair it and reopen it to hikers. Not only would this restore a hugely popular entrance into Mills Norrie, but it would also provide added public access to the Hudson River and revive the historic carriageway laid out by Mr. Vaux and Mr. Hoyt. The Point could then be approached as originally intended. Mr. Melewski’s initial assessment is that the steel superstructure of the bridge is sound, and that the brunt of the work needed to repair it for active use would involve the wood decking on top, along with some supporting beams underneath this decking. There is also some minor concrete repair required on the piers and abutments supporting the bridge. CVPA is initiating fundraising to pay for the needed repairs. Based on Mr. Melewski’s projections and assuming that some of the labor and materials for the project would be community-donated, the organization believes that the effort could be completed for $100,000 or less. Reported by Jon Lawson.
For more information or to donate, visit the CVPA website at calvertvaux.org