The Bridge

Another rambling tale of memories by an Old Timer, who turned age 81 in November 2001. Itís about something that happened in Bouckville, the Town of Madison, Madison County N.Y. I think it was in 1925, and I was four years old. [Charles E. Page Oneida, N.Y.]


Quite often our family, my father, Clayton; my mother, Erma; my two sisters and myself drove in the Model T sedan to Madison to visit my Grandmother Lewis. This time it was about four or five oíclock in the afternoon, and we planned to eat supper at Grandmaís house. We came from Oneida up rte. 46 through PineWoods, and along rte. 20 to Bouckville. A short distance past the bridge over the Chenango Canal we stopped at the meat market [on the north side of the road, a little past the hotel]. We sometimes stopped there to buy their good meat to take to Grandmaís with us. We also sometimes stopped at the Bouckville Mill to get corn for Grandmaís chickens. On this occasion, as my older sister remembers, it was the meat market, while I canít remember for sure which place it was.

My father had no sooner stepped out of the car when we heard a crash. The Canal Bridge on which we had just crossed had collapsed, dropping two cars into the water below. My father, followed closely by my two older sisters ran back to the scene. My mother kept me with her at the car, maybe figuring I was to small to run around in the confusion that was taking place.

So all I really saw was some planks sticking up where the bridge had been.

Some people came climbing up the bank of the Canal all muddy, wet and bedraggled. Apparently no one was seriously hurt, although both cars tipped over. I would guess that the bridge was quite a way above the three- foot depth of water, although I think the newspaper article that reported it may have exaggerated the height of the drop a little. [thirty feet]

A newspaper reporter interviewed my father, and it was written up in the paper. We have a copy of the article, which is hard to read due to the small print and itís faded condition. My oldest sister, Dora, had saved it in her scrapbook. There is no notation to tell which paper it came from, or a readable date. The identities of the survivors were unknown to the owners of the meat market or the feed store. And when they got out of the Canal, they disappeared, walking across a nearby field. It seems they must have known people in the vicinity and walked to a friend or relativeís house.

It was said that a bus loaded with people had crossed the bridge a short time before the collapse. I donít know when the bridge was replaced. I remember the new one was a nice wide one. The old one was narrow and must have been a tight fit when two cars crossed at once.

We went on to Grandmaís house and had an exciting story to tell. [go to Mike's site to see a picture of a bridge in Bouckville which probably replaced this one.

Charles E. Page 2001