The ferry crossing between Newburgh, NY and Beacon, NY was one of the longest running on the Hudson River. Three ferries served the crossing in later years, the "Orange," the "Beacon," and the "Dutchess." The Newburgh-Beacon Bridge would not be built until 1963, so the ferries were the only way passengers and automobilists could cross the river between the two cities. Two of the ferries would be in service, one for each city and passing each other in the middle, with a third ferry kept in reserve. The ferries would rotate duties.
After the success of the construction of the Bear Mountain Bridge in 1924, the state pursued the construction of other Hudson River bridges, including between Newburgh and Beacon. In anticipation of the bridge construction, the New York Bridge Authority purchased the ferry company in 1956 and operated the ferry service under the Bridge Authority name until the bridge was complete. The original two-lane span of the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge opened to the public on November 2, 1963. At the end of the day on November 3, 1963, the ferries were removed from service - the last Hudson River commuter ferries in operation north of New York City were now gone.
For this Media Monday, we revisit some of the stories and sounds from the Newburgh-Beacon Ferry, recorded by the Sound and Story Project.
The Oldest Running Ferry
From horse powered ferries to steam boats, the Newburgh-Beacon Ferry is believed to be one of the oldest running ferries in the United States dating back to 1743. John Fasulo gives an overview of the the ferry's 250 year old history beginning with the ferrying of settlers by the Indians.
Bye Bye Ferry
On November 3, 1963 the Newburgh-Beacon bridge opened and the ferry made its last Hudson River crossing. Mary McTamaney recalls her final trip on the historic ferry.
The Last Salute
On September 3, 1963 Conrad recorded the Hudson River Day Line Alexander Hamilton and the Newburgh Beacon Ferry as they passed each other and exchanged salutes. This was the last trip of the season for the Alexander Hamilton and the Newburgh Beacon ferry would soon cease to run.
In 2005, the Newburgh-Beacon ferry was revived, and now serves passenger commuter traffic between Newburgh, NY and the Metro North train station in Beacon, NY.
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This blog is written by Hudson River Maritime Museum staff, volunteers and guest contributors.
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