Monsey Memories: The Spook Rock Bridge
On the edge of Wesley Hills sits a pond which is bordered by a dam which allows only a stream of water to flow further into the Mahwah River. A bridge was built over the stream to allow traffic to continue on Spook Rock Road—and it has endured its share of trouble over the decades.
While it is unclear when the original bridge was built, the first mention we find of the bridge in 1962, when the hazard became too great to bear. “Rockland Bridges Falling Down,” reported The Record. “Another bridge, not quite as steep on either side, but still dangerous, is the one across the same railroad on Spook Rock Road, off Route 59 at Tallman. Here the driver experiences the same nerve-shattering sensation as his car heads up the slope and makes for the level stretch across the right-of-way.
“’Is there another car coming? Will we collide when we reach the middle?’ These are questions that flit across his mind as he peers through the windshield. Time was when this bridge was a greater menace than the Christmas Hill Bridge. But much traffic has been taken away from the Spook Rock bridge by parallel roads. It is a menace only to those cars which are forced to use it.”
It took three years from that writing for the local officials to take action, as the Record reports: “One of Rockland County’s few remaining wooden bridges will make way for progress. The Spook Rock Road bridge in Tallman, just north of Route 59, will be torn down and replaced with a 30-foot-wide concrete model. Approval of these plans, as well as acceptance of an easement granted the County by Erie Lackawanna Railroad, were voted yesterday by the Board of Supervisors.
“The planks of the old bridge are loose, and the structure has a humpback, which greatly reduces visibility from one side to another. Seven school buses cross the bridge twice each day, and private automobile crossings have doubled in the last 5 years. Besides routine traffic, the old bridge is potentially a hazard to firefighting equipment. At present, Tallman firemen use the span. As it gets older and weaker, this will no longer be possible.”
Finally, after fifteen years of the existence of the concrete bridge, it again ran into trouble—this time due to flooding. The Journal News reported in 1984 that “The bridge crossing Spook Rock Road south of Lime Kiln Road was closed by village officials more than two weeks ago after a post-flood inspection showed that its supporting concrete structure had been severely eroded, leaving wooden beams exposed.”
But a year later, we read, officials from various towns reached an agreement to invest about $30,000 into repairing the bridge which continues to serve residents of the area to this day.