Photo by Karen Zautyk
Once upon a time, boys and girls, winters were really cold– not like last weekend when people were driving around in top-down convertibles. It would sometimes get so cold that the Passaic River would freeze bank to bank, with ice so thick you could skate on it. Which is what these folks are doing in a 1905 photograph (top) taken near the Belleville Turnpike Bridge. We believe this view is looking east toward Kearny/North Arlington, because we cannot see any of the colonialera structures that would have been on the Belleville side — but this is just a guess. What we do know is that the bridge is the one built in 1879. The fi rst bridge on the site, constructed in the 1790s, was destroyed by a fl ood in 1841. Ferries were used for crossing the river until a new bridge opened in 1851, followed by the “modern” 1879 iron bridge shown in the photo. That was itself was replaced in 1910 by the familiar span that operated until the present vertical-lift bridge opened in 2002. On July 4 of ths year, it was offi cially renamed the Lance Cpl. Osbrany Montes De Oca Memorial Bridge, honoring a North Arlington Marine killed in Afghanistan in 2012.