The first Mullica River Bridge from the Port Republic side. (Photo courtesy of Eric Wessler.)
The first bridge across the Mullica River, linking New Gretna with Port Republic, from the New Gretna side, The man in this circa late 1890's photo is believed to be Hezikiah Adams, a bridge tender, from New Gretna. (Photo courtesy of Thomas and Judy Cramer.)
The Mt. Holly Herald reported, on December 19, 1891, that the New Gretna blacksmith was the first to drive a horse across the new Mullica river bridge and that on his return his "colt stumbled, wrecked the harness, and mussed the colt", as the approach roads were not properly finished. While the Herald did not identify the blacksmith, I believe it was Joseph Traux who had the honor of being the first person over the new bridge.
A followup comment appearing in the December 26, 1891 Herald stated that E. Russell Adams, the tender of the new bridge, reported that 90 wagons crossed the bridge on the previous Sunday. Adams said that they were mostly sight seers, and that he didn't bother to count the foot passengers. Clearly, the bridge was well received!
A second iron bridge was constructed around 1917. Bids were received in December, 1916, but the successful bidder reneged on the contract and the project had to be rebid. It was gaining the reputation of the "project from hell." I am unsure of the exact date the bridge was finally finished.
The second iron bridge was a draw bridge, also built close to the water. Horatio "Tater" Cramer, seen above standing by the bridge, was the bridge tender for over 30 years. I wonder how many times he opened that old draw bridge. Some of our older Blog readers should remember Tater. It's amazing how much Stan Cramer, Tater's son, looked like his dad. When I first saw this photo I thought it was Stan. (Photo courtesy of the William Augustine Photo collection housed at the Rutgers University Library.)
Tater Cramer's smiling face at the bridge tender's house was a familiar site for many years at the Mullica River Bridge. (Photo courtesy of Esther Cramer Slota, Tater's daughter.)
The Parkway Bridge spanning the Mullica River between New Gretna and Port Republic, circa 1960. The second iron bridge can be seen under the Parkway Bridge as it had yet to be dismantled. (Photo courtesy of the William Augustine Photo collection housed at the Rutgers University Library.)
The 2nd iron bridge was closed off with it's draw opened when the Parkway Bridge opened in the mid 1950's. (Photo courtesy of the William Augustine Photo collection housed at the Rutgers University Library.)