Then & Now



That rather ornate structure in the ‘Then’ photo is the Jackson St. Bridge, linking Harrison to the Ironbound section of Newark at the southern end of Frank E. Rodgers Blvd. The picture is dated 1898, a year after the span was built. According to Essex County records, it was designed by J. Owens Co. and constructed by McCann Fagan Iron Works. (We don’t know where either firm was located; however, there was a Fagan Iron Works in Jersey City.) Note the fancy lattice-work. Note the domed arches over the pedestrian walkways. Note the gas lamp. 

Today’s bridge bears small resemblance to the original, but long before the 1991 rehab of the span, it had already been altered, losing the elegant accoutrements. But it  is on the N.J. Register of Historic Places. 

Re the name: Folks on the Newark side of the Passaic always called it the Jackson St. Bridge, since Jackson is the street it feeds into Down Neck. When we moved across the river, we were annoyed to find that West Hudsonites referred to it as the Fourth St. Bridge (Fourth St. being the former name of Rodgers Blvd.). Researching this text, we learned it is and always was officially the Jackson St. (Nyah, nyah.) 

One more thing, although you likely won’t be able to see it without a microscope: Painted on a crossbeam above the roadway ‘Then’ is a warning: WALK YOUR HORSES OR PAY 10 DOLLARS FINE. According to an inflation calculator, that would be $285.71 in today’s money. Notice that all the horses are walking. 

– Karen Zautyk 

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