Historic Structures

Old Leeds Bridge, Leeds New York

Date added: March 18, 2010 Categories: New York Bridges

Leeds Bridge, spanning the Catskill at the Village of Leeds in Greene County, is in fact part of New York State Highway number 23, which runs northwest from the Town of Catskill.

The first bridge across this stream was made of wood, but due to spring rains, sometime prior to 1760, it was partly swept away. About 1760 the missing part, or east end, was replaced by two arches of stone. In 1785 the remaining wooden portion burned, and this necessitated the building of the two western stone arches. The western arches were built in 1792 at a cost of 300 pounds.

The Catskill Packet of August 6, 1792 notes: "on Thursday the 26th ult. was completed the erecting of a bridge over Catskill Creek about five miles from this landing, on the great road to the back settlements. This bridge for magnitude and elegance of structure is inferior to none in the state."

The four arches of the Leeds Bridge are exceptionally graceful and well proportioned.

Just below the bridge was the fording place used by both the Indians and whites.

During the widening of the State Highway in the early 1930s, three feet were added to the width of the bridge. Examination of the architectural features of the bridge shows that this was accomplished by cutting down the width of the parapet walls on either side, at which time the stones above the level of the roadway were re-laid. At this same time, parts of the abutments were strengthened by the addition of concrete at their bases.