No More Paper, Written by Margaret Von Seggern, 2021
There are two bridges that go over the Sacandaga River in Hadley, NY. One, is an abandoned railroad trestle the other just below it, is our famous Hadley Parabolic Bow Bridge. Just south of these two bridges is the locally famous merging of two rivers.
The Sacandaga River is created from the Great Sacandaga Lake, after Stewart’s dam which is a few miles northwest. Just after the Bow Bridge is the Wedding of the Waters, the merging of the Mighty Hudson and Great Sacandaga River. The water in the river is low now and its depth is controlled by Stewarts Dam. Spring, summer and early fall it is a major hot spot for several rafting and tubing businesses and the water level is controlled accordingly to accommodate the tourist’s water recreational activities.
When I was young the Bow Bridge was in major disrepair but still well-traveled. The floor of the bridge had horizontal steel bars and perpendicular wide wood planks that vehicles rode across and attempted to stay on. While going across the bridge I could look straight down from the backseat of our car, out the window, into the fierce rapids below. The large gaps between the steel and wood exposed the water and conjured all kinds of sad situations. Not such a secure feeling for a family of five sardined into a two door Chevy Chevette.
The railroad trestle was the formidable fluid iron home to the Delaware and Hudson train transporting wood from the south to the International Paper Company in Ticonderoga. The track also had a switch north of Corinth, a few miles south of Hadley, so the train could deliver wood to Corinth International Paper.
Our family home, where my parents still live, sat one house away from the train track, in Corinth, going directly to the Mill with wood. The long heavy laden trained grunted to a metal scratching slow stop every day at our house at lunch time. The train conductor and crew hopped off the train and walked right past our house downtown to Jack’s Place for lunch. We knew all of their names. On the other side of our house, running parallel to the train tracks, was the road that every single 18 wheeler with full loads of huge logs traveled to the Mill. Our home quaked everyday all day, like a herd of elephants coming straight at you at full stampede speed. I don’t know how our home stayed on the foundation.
To me, the bone rattling vibrations of the train and trucks became a musical lullaby of our home from age seven to nineteen. Those sounds were the heartbeat of our home and life line for our little mill town in the gateway of the Adirondacks. The trucks were rerouted elsewhere, the tracks were abandoned and the house doesn’t dance anymore, its music evaporated.
photo.Margaret Von Seggern.2016