With two dozen nearby mills along Irondequoit Creek, the succession of early bridges spanning Linden Avenue over the years endured a lot of wear and tear. Andrew Lincoln and Samuel Rich partnered in a milling business on Irondequoit Creek. A bridge across the creek was essential for access to both Penfield and Perinton, and for the transport of their products to Fullamtown, the early canal settlement that predated the village of Fairport. While little documentation exists, it is likely that the first bridge, a crude wooden structure, was built in 1821.
Perinton records include numerous reports of repairs to the bridge by what became known as Lincoln’s Mill, as early as 1827. After nine years of hard use, the original 1821 bridge was replaced with another, which lasted a bit longer — 12 years. The early bridges were made of wood, and the heavy loads from the mills on Irondequoit Creek must have been a great burden. Town records indicate the bridge by Lincoln’s Mill was in a constant state of repair or replacement. In a flood of high water in 1863, the west abutment of Lincoln’s bridge was washed out. Again, a new bridge was needed.
An iron bridge with wood planking was installed in about 1870. It had a much longer life than previous bridges, but by August of 1897, an engineer’s inspection condemned the bridge. The report stated, “the bridge vibrates badly under moving loads, and is so badly braced that these
vibrations are liable to cause a collapse of the structure. Speed over it should be limited to a walk, and live loads to not over two tons, including the wagon, until such time as the town sees fit to replace the structure.”
A month later, the Owego Bridge Company was under contract, and for the price of $2,692, a new bridge of “extra heavy steel” was soon assembled on the site. It did not last as long as the previous bridge and was replaced in 1922 by a concrete bridge, the construction of which was hampered by the existence of quicksand, discovered while putting the abutments in place.
The concrete bridge, many may recall, was for at least two decades a crumbling exercise in self-demolition. It was planned for replacement as early as 1975 but was delayed until 1990. The current bridge was built just south of the old concrete span, which collapsed while being dismantled, causing two construction workers and a crane to fall 25 feet to the creek below.
Records indicate that since the first bridge was built in 1821, at least 10 bridges have spanned Irondequoit Creek at Linden Avenue.