Papa’s World – The wonders of the KINZUA BRIDGE

Hundreds of years ago – this was the land of the Seneca ‘ s –

One of the five nations in Western Pa. and New York State.

And in this land – was a river and mountains and a valley –

The river – the Allegany – the mountains the same –

and the valley – ” THE KINZUA ” !


Both Sherry and myself

were born and raised in this beautiful part of Penna. and NYS .

Her in a little hamlet called Mount Jewett –

a SWEDISH founded community on top of the mountains –

And me – in the river valley in a little town called Eldred.

Both situated within the boundaries of the Allegany mountains

and what the Indian nation called ” KINZUA ” !

Land of the Senaca’s THE KINZUA VALLEY

Back in the late 1800’s – a way to bring coal to a place to store and sell –

You had to go up and down in these mountains –

A long hard trip –

So – a solution was to build a bridge – spanning this valley –

And to ship the coal by RAIL !

Thus was born ” THE KINZUA BRIDGE ” !

What is left of the bridge

At the time of construction ( I think in record time of months )

It became one of the WONDERS OF THE WORLD –

At its highest point – over 300 feet straight down –

and almost a half mile long !

Disaster struck – a TORNADO

The bridge was used for years and years –

undergoing a complete renovation in the years to follow to strengthen it –

As the trains became larger – heavy – and loaded with coal.

Then – it was deemed the end of transporting the coal era –

And became somewhat of a tourist attraction –

A look down from the bridge

The bridge – became a ride across –

with a steam locomotive carrying passengers .

After years of this – it was deemed unsafe –

But the locals still walked across it

and many rode snowmobiles across it

( Sherry’s father rode across countless times on a snowmobile )

Today – a historical site

About 12 to 15 years ago – disaster struck –

they had just begun restoring the old bridge-

It was going to be safe once again –

They were done for the day –


Conditions became perfect for Mother Nature !

The winds increased in the valley –

And a TORNADO ( rare ) formed –

The bridge went down – half of it !

One half left

In the years that followed – it was deemed as both historical

and a State Park – with a multi million dollar museum –

and bus loads of tourist all year around.

Glass floor installed

You can now walk out on it to the platform

and peer straight down through a reinforced GLASS FLOOR –

300 feet straight down – not for me –

There is a bench before you walk out –

That is my seat until all come back !

The entrance to the visitor center & Museum

The Visitor center and museum – gives a detail history of the construction

and a timeline and pictures of the destruction from the Tornado.

Along with interviews of eye witness ‘s and rescues !

The old rail road grade

The OLD RAIL ROAD GRADE has been resurfaced

and made into miles of walking and hiking trails

through the top of the valley.

Also known as the ” KINZUA DAM “

Several miles away – part of the valley was made into a dam –

No houses are allowed as it is one half state property –

And the other half belongs to the SENACA INDIAN NATION.

The marina on the KINZUA RESERVOIR

Boating and water sports and fishing is allowed – must purchase a license.

Miles and miles of shoreline in both NYS & Pa.

The area is beautiful – full of wild life –

much as it was hundreds of years ago.

The Senaca Nation owns and runs the Casino –

And the reservation encompasses much of the land in both states.


In the little town of Ludlow Pa. –

Is the site of the OLMSTEAD MANOR –

Built in the early 1900’s –

We have stayed here many times –

It still has the old phones – that you would blow into –

And the names of all the family who lived here-

With the number of the phone and which room they resided in !

There is a one lane bowling alley in the top floor !

Buck – Cindy – Sherry – Tom

All our friends are from the area – and we go home –

The Bridge is a must stop to see destination.

I hope you liked the blog and a little bit of information –

On the Allegany foothills and the KINZUA VALLEY & BRIDGE !

Thank you for reading Papa’s World

If you would like to read more – just type in the following

for my email


her email

Sherry & Tom

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