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February 15, 1893 New Haven Register

 

THE ZOAR BRIDGE WRECK

Ex-Commissioner Dunham's Inspection

The Roads Piled High with Cakes of Ice.

 

Ex-county Commissioner Dunham was out to the Zoar Bridge yesterday taking an inspection of the condition of affairs since the partial wrecking of the bridge by the ice gorge and flood last Friday night.

 

Zoar Bridge is located between Oxford and Monroe over the Housatonic River.  There has been a bridge of some sort there for 100 years. The present bridge has been there 15 years and is suspended by cables from towers on either side of the river.

 

Mr. Dunham found that the country roundabout this region gave the evidences of having been through a severe winter. The roads were in terrible condition and he could not drive within 500 feet of the entrance to the bridge on the New Haven County side. The gorge had carried huge cakes of ice up into the fields and roads alongside the river and had made the roads impassable. By climbing over piles of ice he managed to reach the bridge.  He found both ends of the bridge torn from the abutments but the bridge was still kept in place by the cables on which it is suspended. The bridge was safe for pedestrians but not for teams provided any teams could have got near enough to try to cross it.

 

Mr. Dunham was accompanied by Mr. Downs, who helped build the bridge and they examined it carefully. Both are of the opinion that it can be repaired without the use of much new material, but there will be an expense for labor. How long it will take or how soon they get at it is problematical.

 

Mrs. French, an aged widow lady, who lives in a little frame house near the river bank, had her house picked up and carried from its foundations by the flood and jammed against a couple of trees and badly wrecked.

 

Mr. Stow, the former toll-keeper, who recently brought suit against Fairfield and New Haven counties for the possession of the toll-house and was defeated, had two horses in a barn built close to the mason work of the abutment who were left high and dry in their stable, and he has had to carry feed to them on his back from the station half a mile away.

 

The damage was caused primarily by a lack of water in the river to carry away the ice, the results being that the ice formed a big gorge just below the bridge and finally dammed up the stream so that the water rose very rapidly and carried all the ice with it into the fields and roads and upon the bridge. It was the worst freshet at this point in years and the damage would have been great had there been anything in particular to be damaged.

 

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