26 August 2020

Three Stone Bridges of Hillsborough

According to the National Park Service, Hillsborough Township's early 19th-century stone bridges included on the National Register of Historic Places are two of just twenty such bridges still standing in Somerset County. I would propose that we might add a third, later bridge to that list. 

Cat Tail Brook Bridge - Montgomery Road

The Cat Tail Brook Bridge - spanning the stream of the same name on Montgomery Road - is Hillsborough's oldest document stone bridge. The single-span arch bridge was constructed in 1825 by B.J. Gray, supervised by Mssrs. Stryker and Cruser, and assisted by stonemasons John Rowland Jr. and Thomas Stout.

Cat Tail Brook Bridge, 2009

The thirty-foot long bridge is made of local fieldstone. The arch - with a ten-foot span - is made of quarried stone. The bridge can not be called elegant, but the simple fact of its nearly 200-year service to the community attests to the workmanship of the builders.

Cat Tail Brook Bridge cornerstone

Rock Brook Bridge - Long Hill Road

The Rock Brook Bridge is so similar in construction method and materials to other bridges in the immediate area - notably the 1822 Opposum Road Bridge in Montgomery Township - that we can comfortably ascribe a circa 1825 date to this important span.

Rock Brook Bridge, 2020

Originally possessing three arches, an 1891 torrential rainfall washed out the third span. It was quickly reconstructed as an open span, necessitating some new stonework at the center arch and the east abutment. The original stone walls have also been replaced by modern guardrails. Despite these changes, the 41-foot long, 16-foot wide bridge retains its historic integrity and serves its purpose ably to this day.

Rock Brook Bridge, 2020

Hoepfner's Brook Bridge - Township Line Road

The Hoepfner's Brook Bridge on Township Line Road which spans a small tributary of the Millstone River dates to the late 19th-century. The bridge has not been researched and little is known about the circumstances of its construction.

Hoepfner's Brook Bridge looking north

Although its single 10-foot span and fieldstone construction make it visually similar to Cat Tail Brook Bridge, the use of brick for the arch sets it apart. Like the Rock Brook Bridge, a modern guardrail has been in place for a long time.

Hoepfner's Brook Bridge looking south

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