In 1870, the Wallkill Valley Railroad operated trains between Montgomery and New Paltz, and began building a 413-foot (126 m) bridge south of Rosendale, at Springtown Road, to cross the Wallkill River. The Springtown bridge was completed by 1871, and the rail line was opened north to the town of Rosendale. The town of Rosendale had issued $92,800 in bonds on May 13, 1869 to finance the Rosendale portion of the railroad.
Though the trestle was difficult to build, and viewed as weak by modern standards, it was remarkable for its time, and can be considered the "most awesome part" of the Wallkill Valley rail line. Construction on the bridge's abutments began in August 1870 by A. L. Dolby & Company, but work on the superstructure by the Waston Manufacturing Company did not begin until the following year due to problems with quicksand during the excavation. Sections of the superstructure were built in Paterson, New Jersey. The bridge originally had seven wrought-iron spans and two shorter wooden spans; the longer spans were each 105 feet (32 m) in length. The bridge cost $250,000 to build, and followed a Post truss design. Roughly 1,000 short tons (910 t) of iron and 420,000 board feet (990 m3) of timber went into its construction. At the time of its completion in January 1872, it had the highest span of any bridge in the United States. Due to its height, it could "scarcely be crossed for the first time without something like a feeling of terror". The bridge allowed the rail line to continue north to Kingston.
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