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 ” !
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 ” !
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 !
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 –
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 )
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 –
BUT A STORM WAS BREWING !
Conditions became perfect for Mother Nature !
The winds increased in the valley –
And a TORNADO ( rare ) formed –
The bridge went down – half of it !
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.
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 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 has been resurfaced
and made into miles of walking and hiking trails
through the top of the valley.
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.
Boating and water sports and fishing is allowed – must purchase a license.
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 !
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
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