Original Waterport bridge was a steel arch, a sight to behold

Posted 18 November 2014 at 12:00 am

By Bill Lattin
Orleans County Historian

WATERPORT – With the recent opening of the Waterport bridge over Oak Orchard River (Lake Alice), it seems appropriate to look back at the first bridge in this location.

Our photo from 1900 shows that first bridge. It was dedicated July 7, 1900, with great ceremony. This steel arch bridge was 548 feet long and 68 feet above the water. It was built by the Horseheads Bridge Co. and cost $14,000. To prove its strength, two steam tractors pulling threshing machines were driven onto the bridge, one from each end, meeting in the middle for all to see.

In 1919 and 1920 when Lake Alice was created, this gorge was flooded for electric generation. Hence the steel arch bridge was replaced with a new bridge on concrete piers. Note in our photo the original Waterport dam and the Albion Power Co. building.