Centennial celebration planned for Nicholson Bridge Sept. 11-13

April 28th, 2015 3:45 pm

George Penyak, of Scranton, won the Nicholson Bridge Day logo contest with this graphic he created to commemorate the anniversary and celebration.

NICHOLSON – A celebration of the centennial of the Nicholson Bridge, also known as the Tunkhannock Creek Viaduct or the Tunkhannock Viaduct, is planned for Sept. 11-13.

The Nicholson Bridge 100th celebration will begin Friday evening, Sept. 11. The official program will take place on Saturday, Sept. 12, followed by a parade in the afternoon. Main Street will be closed all day Saturday for entertainment, food and History on Main Street, where area historical groups will show off their items. The association is also working on walking historical tours for both weekend days.

The Nicholson Women’s Club will hold its annual Bridge Day on Sunday, Sept. 13, where crafts, vendors, and food will be available on Main Street.

Built by the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad (DL&W), construction on the Tunkhannock Creek Viaduct began in 1912 and its completion, dedication and ready for use took place on Nov. 6, 1915. Abraham Burton Cohen was project designer and George G. Ray was chief engineer.

This engineering marvel was part of a larger project, called the Clarks Summit-Hallstead Cutoff, built to shorten the DL&W main rail line from Scranton, to Binghamton, N.Y. by 3.6 miles, lessen the steep grades and straighten the rail line. The entire Cut-off, sometimes referred to as the Pennsylvania or Nicholson Cut-off, was built with two sets of tracks to allow for trains going north and south at the same time. This shortened route cost approximately $12 million but saved considerable travel time.

In 1975, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) designated the Nicholson Bridge as a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark due to its significant contribution to the development of the United States and to the profession of civil engineering.

This construction and engineering feat was listed on the National Register of Historic Places (#77001203) due to its national architectural, engineering, and transportation significance on April 11, 1977. Additionally, the viaduct was documented by the Historic American Engineering Record, which was established in 1969 by an agreement by the National Park Service, the ASCE and the Library of Congress to document historic sites and structures related to engineering and industry.

Two grants from the Wyoming County Room Tax Fund and the Endless Mountains Visitors Bureau will be used to market and promote the event and replace deteriorated signs that welcome visitors as they drive into Nicholson.

The Nicholson Heritage Association meets regularly to discuss and work on initiatives that include the Nicholson Tourism Center at the Historic DL&W Railroad Station, the Viaduct Valley Way Scenic Byway, and purchasing U.S. flags for local businesses. For updates, visit nicholsonheritage.org.

The Brooklyn Historical Society will also celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Martins Creek Viaduct, also known as the Kingsley Bridge, the weekend before on Saturday, Sept. 5, in Kingsley, about nine miles north of Nicholson on Route 11.