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Percy Bridge

This bridge was not built in the Adirondacks. It only missed by one mile; as the crow flies. It is on the Chateaugay River north of Chateaugay, New York. A lot of workmen from the North Woods left the forest to work on this bridge.

A fellow by the name of Daniel McCallum designed it. McCallum was transplanted from Scotland as a young boy. He must have had a bright mind. They say he started out as a carpenter then a builder/architect. I was told that he became the superintendent of the New York Erie railroad before he designed the trusses used for this bridge.

The trusses were so strong that they started using them on railroad bridges. They had a fancy name which I can’t remember. Maybe we can look in my pile of papers later and find out.

The civil war started and they needed McCallum’s engineering skills. He ended up as a Major-General.

Percy bridge Mccallum

I say the bridge was in Canada but it may as well have been in the Adirondacks. It was still the north woods. There is a township where the bridge is. Its name is Elgin. Not very big. The two rivers that define it both flow out of the Adirondacks. The Trout River is on the west and the Chateaugay is on the east. There is supposed to be a border on the south but no one pays any attention to it.

It is the United States-Canadian border. Hunters, trappers and fishermen from both countries cross the border as if it was not there. No one bothers them.

The surrounding townships are also in Quebec but Elgin is a bit different. Scotsmen settled there. I wonder if there is a connection between McCallum’s ancestry and the people of Elgin.

The bridge has two names. Some people call it the Percy Bridge and others call it the Powerscourt bridge. Whatever it is called really makes no difference. It is just a pretty bridge to look at. Although it is a little strange because it is thrust up in the middle of each span.

Percy bridge in winter

Percy Bridge Over The Frozen Chateaugay

In the winter the Chateaugay is covered with ice and snow. The bridge is easier to see because of the white background and there are no leaves on the trees. Of course, a winter trip out of the Adirondacks is something you may not want to do. Unless you can hitch a ride on one the Lyon Mountain Ironworks sleds. They go to Montreal in the winter.

If you do make it don’t forget to stop at the pulp mill at high falls. It is just south of Chateaugay village. You can see them beating trees to a pulp and also see the falls in winter.

High falls

There are some nice trout in the pool at the bottom of the falls.

Let’s take a look in my pile of papers and see what I have on the bridge.

Yes, here it is. Someone wrote some stuff down about it.

History of Bridge

The Story of the Percy/Powerscourt Bridge

And here is another piece of paper about McCallum.

about Daniel Craig McCallum

The Story of Daniel Craig McCallum

Yes – – – “The Inflexible Arch Truss”, that is what they called McCallum’s design.

And look here, I forgot that one of the fellows that worked on the bridge brought back a drawing of it. I don’t know how that slipped my mind. It is like the story of the whole bridge. You can imagine all those fellows chopping the trees down, hewing them into square shapes and drilling those big holes to put the pegs or bolts in. I wonder which ones they used. Pegs or bolts?

Drawing of bridge with frame

Rendering of the Percy/Powerscourt Bridge

Well that is a lot of talk about bridges and McCallum and how we thought that Elgin township was part of the Adirondacks.

How about if I make a nice pot of tea for us and we can smoke our pipes next to the fire?

Tahawas and Tomosky c