Lyons Falls History Association
Three Way Bridge

First wooden bridgeThe first bridge over the chasm at the top of the High Falls was constructed in 1835 and 1836 by Cap. John Whittsley, head of one of the pioneer families of Lyons Falls. According to records, the bridge looked like “a devil on two sticks”. However, it was actually remarkably well constructed according to standards of the day. It was a wooden structure that spanned the Black River at High Falls. The first Lyons Falls Bridge was in use during a colorful period of North Country history. Its use spanned the years during which controversy over the constuction of the Black River canal was raging. Twice daily, the mail was carried to and from Lyons Falls over the bridge by stage coach. The Post Offices for the area were located at Lyonsdale, Greig and Brantingham.

With the opening of the Canal, the state decided to construct bridges at key locations along the route. In 1853, a decision was reached to construct a new wooden bridge that would better serve the growing traffic brought on by the Canal. The new bridge had three approaches, one on the west shore of Black River, a second on the east shore of Moose River and the third at the confluence of the two rivers. It was originally constructed with high side walls that were later removed. The bridge was called the White bridge for years by the residents because of the high white board side walls. Bridges of this type were called covered truss bridges. Gradually, as transportation methods became modernized, the White bridge became outmoded.

With the advent of the automobile, the bridge was no longer considered safe for highway travel. The old wooden bridge was torn down and was replaced in 1916 by another Y bridge that was featured in the newspaper column, “Ripley’s Believe It Or Not”. In October 1963, construction began on two new spans, one over the Moose River and the other over the Black River. The spans replaced the Y bridge, which was then torn down. Cement supports for the three way bridge can still be seen peeking out from the Black River.

Lyons Falls History Association