CSX sent a letter to preservationists and museums asking if they want any parts. The railroad company was unable to get any takers for the whole bridge. CSX is offering gears and plaques to groups that would display the artifacts publicly.
CSX has said it wants the bridge down next month, but that timeline doesn’t seem realistic. at this late date. The Hojack Swing Bridge, out of use for many years, has been part of the port scenery for more than a century. The Coast Guard has long wanted the structure removed, calling it a navigation hazard.
Perhaps surprisingly to some, it is not merely the possibility of removal that is most disturbing, but it is the fact that no creative options have ever been fully discussed or considered to see this bridge in an innovative way. There have been no formal negotiations to consider the possibilities of how this resource could be reinvented or reconceived in a new use, instead of remaining what some consider a rusting eyesore. Knee-jerk conclusions have been drawn before any true thought has been given to options.
This has not been a good time for preservationists in Rochester. They are close to losing the Cataract Building and the High Falls smokestack. They’ve already lost Midtown Plaza, though I don’t remember a huge fuss from history buffs about that building.
Government officials suggest photographs are an acceptable way to preserve the Hojack Swing Bridge and other doomed structures. Anyone who’s felt the frustration of looking at images of our city’s bygone eras begs to differ.
Photographer Richard Margolis just published a book about the Hojack Swing Bridge. His beautiful pictures – and the artifacts up for grabs – may be all that’s left.
Read the CSX offering of Hojack artifacts: