Aldrich Change Bridge, Palmyra

Today we went to Palmyra to see the Aldrich Change Bridge. This bridge was originally built in 1858 by John Hutchinson in Troy, NY, and spanned the Erie Canal at the Rochester Weighlock in the 1860’s. In 1878 the wooden Aldrich Change Bridge collapsed and this wrought and cast iron Whipple Bridge replaced it. This bridge was rammed by ice and timber on January 19, 1996 which removed it from its abutments, landing it in the Ganargua Creek. This bridge was rescued and rebuilt and is now located in the Palmyra / Macedon Aqueduct Park.

Aldrich Change Bridge

The abutments were rebuilt exactly as they were in their previous location near Foldpak in Newark:


A change bridge allowed the mules to cross from one side of the canal to the other without having to untie them from the tow rope.

Aldrich Change Bridge

Here’s a photo I took of the information located near the bridge on how a change bridge works:

How a Change Bridge Works

We also saw the Mud Creek Aqueduct:

Old Erie Canal Aqueduct

We first smelled these old fashioned roses – a wonderful aroma – and then saw them along the canal banks:

Old Fashioned Roses

We also saw quite a bit of Dame’s Rocket:

Dame's Rocket

And Fleabane:


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. John R. Groves
    Nov 28, 2006 @ 08:41:07

    Dear Nature Woman,

    That was a very thoughtful article about our historic bridge in the Macedon/Palmyra Canal Park. It’s always good to have different insights about this project.

    Wild flowers and other life forms, such as birds and animals are often seen along the Erie Canal near this site. Many may pass, but it’s never really clear how many might know more about the living things they pass or encounter. Your piece has certainly helped me appreciate what is there.

    Today there is a new initiative to rehabilitate the Pal/Mac aqueduct. Since the abandonment of the Enlarged Erie Canal around 1915, this aqueduct has deteriorated to some extent. The aqueduct is literally a western gateway to our bridge and an important interpretive artifact of 19th century canal technology.

    I myself believe strongly in a kind of holistic approach to interpreting a historic site. Certainly the main theme is important (i.e. the bridge & aqueduct) but also other aspects you have so wonderfully pointed out. As people visit our site they are enriched in history and also the natural world that is nearby.

    I just wanted to thank you for this magnificent effort to bring to others the wholeness and joy an awareness of nature can bring.

    John R. Groves


  2. Pam
    Nov 28, 2006 @ 08:52:54

    Dear John,
    Thank you for your reply to my post. I’m really glad to read that there is an initiative to rehabilitate the Pal/Mac aqueduct – I didn’t show them here, but I took several photos of this area and agree it is an important part of the Erie Canal history. There were many other beautiful natural items I noticed and photographed that I left out of my short post. Your park is beautiful! I’ll be back to visit.


  3. Pam
    Nov 28, 2006 @ 08:55:38

    Dear John,
    I just noticed it was you that created “How a Change Bridge Works.” Your diagram and description made it crystal clear how the bridge worked – thank you!


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