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Annual report of the Secretary of War, Volume 1 online

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At the close of the fiscal year ending June 30, 1892, not only was
the project completed, but additional navigable facilities had been given
at the head of navigation by opening a channel 40 feet wide and 8 feet
deep from deep water of the main branch of the creek to tbe Wappin-
ger town dock.

The channel in its present condition meets, it is believed, all the
wants of commerce.

The balance of $102.85, remaining at the end of last fiscal year, was
expended during the fiscal year ending June 30, 1894, for office expenses.

As the approved project has been completed no further approi)ria-
tion is recommended for this improvement.

Wappinger Creek is in the collection district of New York. The nearest works of
defense are situated upon Governors Island, New York Harbor, and tbe nearest
ligbt-bouse is Danskammer Point Ligbt-House.

Amount appropriated September 19, 1890 $13,000

Amount expended to June 30, 1894 13,000

Money statement,

July 1, 1893, balance unexpended $162. 85

June 30, 1894. amount expended during fiscal year 162. 85



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APPENDIX E REPORT OP LIEUT. COL. GILLESPIE. 741

COMMERCIAL STATISTICS.

The priocipal mannfactares at the Falls are cotton goods, overalls, clothing,
combs, and iron. They are mostly transported by small boats to the mouth of the
creek Inside of the railroad bridge, -where they are transferred to the New York
Central and Hudson River Railroad.

The tonnage of the creek during the year 1888 was 70,000 tons. The value of the
tonnage was then estimated at $6,500,000. The Dutchess Company shipped 15,500
tons at an estimated valuation of $5,600,000. The traffic is principally carried by
sloops, schooners, scows, canal boats, and barges.



E 5.

IMPROVEMENT OF HARLEM RIVER. NEW YORK.

The project lor making a navigable water connection between the
East Kivier and the Hudson Eiver, by the way of the Harlem Kiver and
Spuyten Buyvil Creek, was formulated upon the facts determined by
the survey made along this route in 1874, in compliance with the river
and harbor act of June 23, 1874, the report upon which may be found
on page 224, Annual Keport of the Chief of Engineers for 1875, Part II.

This report contains an interesting historical review of the naviga-
tion of the Harlem Eiver from the Eevolution to the present time.

A full history of this improvement, as now adopted, with the legal
proceedings for the acquirement of the land needed for it, and copies
of the laws passed by the legislature of the State of Few York relative
thereto, is given in the annual report of the local engineer in charge to
the Chief of Engineers for 1887. (See Annual Eeport of the Chief of
Engineers for 1887, Tart I, pp. 665 to 689.)

The streams embraced in the improvement are the Harlem Eiver and
Spuyten Duyvil Creek, the former emptying into the East Eiver near
Hell Gate and the latter into the Hudson Eiver about 13 miles north
of the Battery, and the two together separating Manhattan Island
from the mainland.

There has always been an exchange of waters between these two
streams at Kingsbridge, though a long ledge of rocks awash at mean
low water and an extremely narrow channel at that point have hereto-
fore prevented the exchange being a free one.

High bridge was originally the head of navigation in the Harlem
Eiver, but there was a fair channel of about 10 feet depth at mean low
water as far as Morris dock, miles from the mouth of the river, and
a crooked one of 7 feet depth to Fordham Landing, 1 mile farther;
there was no navigation of this latter section, except by rowboats or
by small boats used for transporting building material to the " annexed
district." Kingsbridge, If miles from the Hudson Eiver,was the head
of navigation in Spuyten Duyvil Creek, but only at high water for ves-
sels drawing 8 feet.

The range of the tides in Harlem Eiver varied from 5.5 feet at Third
avenue bridge to 6 feet at the mouth of Dyckman Creek, and in the
Spuyten Duyvil Creek was 3.8 feet.

As the diff'erence in the height and times of tides between the East
and Hudson rivers, after connection has been made between the Har-
lem and the Hudson rivers, will produce the currents upon which reli-
ance is placed to keep the channel open, it was desirable that the cross
section of the channel be kept as uniform as possible, in order to avoid
the unnecessary resistances to the flow of the water which will be
caused by any contraction of the waterway.



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742 REPORT OF THE CHIEF OF ENGINEERS, U. S. ARMY.

With this \iew the contraction of the proposed cut through Dyck-
man Meadow will be more than counterbalanced by the natural chan-
nel through Spuyten Duyril by the way of Kingsbridge, which is left
open, and the contraction caused by the piers and embankments of the
High bridge, which carries the Groton Aqueduct across the Harlem
River, will be compensated for by deepening the channels between the
piers and abutments of that bridge.

Observations of the tides affecting these waters show that there is
not a free exchange of tides between Harlem River and Spuyten Duy-
vil Creek, but that there is practically a divide somewhere near Ford-
ham bridge between the tides flowing from the East River into the
Harlem River and from the Hudson River into Spuyten Duyvil Creek.
Comparing the tides of the Harlem River at Fordham bridge with
those of the Hudson River at the mouth of the Spuyten Duyvil Creek,
it is found —

(1) That the level of mean high water in the Hudson is nearly 1 foot
(0.961 foot) lower than it is in the Harlem.

(2) That the mean rise and fall of the tide in the Hudson is 2.12 feet
less than it is in the Harlem.

(3) That the mean duration of the rise of tides in the Hudson is
thirty- six minutes shorter and the mean duration of the faU twenty-six
minutes longer than in the Harlem.

(4) The mean level of the Hudson at the mouth of the Spuyten Duyvil
Creek is 0.265 of a foot lower than at Fordham bridge.

(5) High water occurs one hour and thirty-four minutes earlier in
the Hudson than in the Harlem.

From these facts it follows that while on the opening of the new
channel through Dyckn\an Meadow there will be a free flow east or west,
dependent upon the stage of the tides, the preponderance will be west-
ward, and that the mouth of the improved channel will then be at the
junction with the Hudson River.

The project for the improvement was adopted in 1879. The proposed
lines of improvement, as laid down by the engineer in charge in his
annual report for 1882, are as follows:

(1) Below the Harlem or Third avenue bridge the outer pier and
bulkhead lines as laid down by the park department are adopted.

(2) Above the Third avenue bridge to the entrance of Dyckman
Creek into the Harlem River the exterior pier and bulkhead lines are
laid down 400 feet apart.

(3) The line following Dyckman Creek through Dyckman Meadow
will pass for a part of the way through solid rock, and it is here that
the principal cost of the undertaking must be encountered. This part
is to be made 350 feet wide. It would have been preferable to have
established it at 400 feet, but the additional amount of rock excavation
was the obstacle.

(4) The remainder of the line to the Hudson River will follow, as
nearly as possible, the course of the Spuyten Duyvil, and the width
will be 400 feet.

(5) The channel depth in the Harlem River and Spuyten Duyvil
Creek will be 15 feet at mean low water, and in the channel along Dyck-
man Creek 18 feet mean low water.

The cost of opening a navigable waterway from the Hudson River
through Dyckman Creek to the Harlem River at East Two hundred and
eighteenth street, New York City, was estimated in 1875 at $2,100,000,
and for dredging the Harlem River thence to Third avenue at $600,000
additional, making the estimated aggregate cost of the improvement
$2,700,000.

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APPENDIX E ^BEPOBT OF LIEUT. COL. GILLESPIE. 743

The project was revised in 1886, by narrowing the channel immedi-
ately north of High bridge to 375 feet where it skiits the Ogden estate,
on the east bank. This change of width was approved by the Secretary
of War October 7, 1886. (See Annual Eeport of the Chief of Engineers
for 1887, Part I, p. 671.)

The legal difficulties for acquiring the right of way along the line of
the proposed improvements from the Harlem Eiver to the Hudson
Eiver, through Dyckman Meadow, were removed in May, 1887, and
immediately thereupon the appropriations of 1878 and 1879, aggregating
$400,000, became available, and the project for their expencBture was
begun and continued under appropriations of 1888 and 1890.

The work contemplated under the existing appropriations provides
for the excavation of all the material contained between the dams;
dredging a channel from the east dam through the Harlem Eiver to
Fordham dock, and from the west dam to Spuyten Duy vil Creek, and
for the removal of the dams. It is expected that when this work is
executed there will be a narrow channel between the Hudson and the
East rivers navigable at mean low water by vessels drawing 8 feet.

By act of Congress approved March 3, 1881, a survey was made of
the Harlem or Bronx Kills, north of Eandall Island, and a report was
submitted upon the practicability of opening a channel 300 feet wide
and 15 feet deep, mean low water, between the East Eiver and the
Harlem Eiver by this route, at an estimated cost of $2,000,000. The
report will be found in the Annual Eeport of the Chief of Engineers for
1882, part 1, p. 656. The project was never approved by Congress, and
no appropriation has ever been made for its execution.

Harbor lines for the preservation and protection of the navigable
waters of the Harlem Eiver and Spuyten Duyvil Creek were established
by the Secretary of War October 18, 1890, under authority of the river
and harbor act of August 11, 1888.

The department of public parks, New York City, made application
to the Secretary of War July 11, 1893, for a modification of the harbor
line of the west bank of the Harlem Eiver from near High bridge to
and beyond the Washington bridge, to enable an adequate highway to
. be built along the Harlem Eiver, connecting One hundred and fifty-fifth
street with tlie northern end of Manhattan Island.

The matter was submitted to the Harbor Line Board for ^iTew York
Harbor and adjacent waters, and on its recommendation the Secretary
of War authorized, October 2, 1893, a modification of the habor line as
follows:

Bcfrinning at a point "A'' on the harbor line on the west bank of the Harlem River
established by the Secretary of War October 18, 1890, 741 feet south of the center
lino of the western abutment of Washington bridge, the recommended lino runs
thence northerly in a straight course a distance of 1,630 feet to a point ** B" in the
said harbor line 889 feet north of the center line of said western Abutment. The
coordinates of the point '<A'^ are north 6,180.03 and east 741.48, and those of point
'' B'' are north 7,80o.61 and east 708.37, the origin of coordinates being the southeast
corner of Tenth aveuno, at its intersection with One hundred and fifty-fifth street,
New York City. The modified line so drawn will pass to the eastward of the eastern
face of the western abutment of Washington bridge a distance of 62 feet, approxi-
mately, and eastward of the established harbor lino at that point a distance of 21
feet. •

The modification of the harbor line was accompanied with the per-
mission to the department of public parks to build an iron footway 12
feet in width, carried around the river side of the outer pier of the
bridge known as *^ High bridge" across the Harlem River at J^ew Tork
City, N. Y., said pier being situated upon the western pierhead and
bulkhead line along said river.



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744 REPORT OF THE CHIEF OF ENGINEERS, U. 8. ARMY.
BRIDGES ACROSS THE HARLEM RIVER.

The foHowing table shows the location and characteristics of the
several existing bridges across the Harlem River :



Name and location of bridge.



Second nv^enuo

Third avenue

Third avenue (temporary) . .

Fourth avenue :

East span

West span

Fourth avenue (temporary)..

Madison avenue

Macomb Dam, One haudrod
and fifty-sixth street (tem-
porary).

New York and Northern
Railroad ISridge at Eighth
avenue.

High bridge (old aqueduct) .



Width in

clear in

each

draw.



Height of
bottom
chords
above
mean
high
water.



Feet. I
103.7 1



G5
G8
60
132
70



128



Feet.
28.5
13.8
4

7.2

1

28
16.7



28



Kemarks.



Washington bridge, at One
hundi^ and eighty-first
street.

Farmers bridge



.' Single
• span.

3.1



Kings bri<fge

Foottjridgo at Broadway

Hudson River Railroad

bridge, at mouth of Spuy-

ten Duyvil Crcok.



50 \



4.8

3

6.9



Double draw, railroad bridge, iron.

Double draw, road bridge, iron.

Double draw, wooden trestle, iron drawapau.

C Double draw, railroad bridge, iron; cast sprui

i closed by row of jiiling.

Single draw, wooden trestle, iron drawspan.

Double draw, road bridge, iron.

Double draw, road bridge, wootl ; will be removc^l
on completion of new iron bridge at One hun-
dred and fifty-fifth «tre<^t.

Double draw, railroad bridge, iron.



No draw; stone arch; width between piers, 77. 7
feet; clear waterway, 55 feet; crown of arch 100
feet above mean high water.

No draw; iron arch; span, 500 feet; clear water-
way, 420 feet; crown of arch, 136. 7 feet above
mean high water.

No draw; two spans, 22 and 23 feet witle; light
timber structure.

No draw ; two spans, 18 and 25 feet wide.

No draw; two spans, 56^ and 58^ feet wide.

Single draw, wooden trestks iron drawspan.



I



The following resolution, governing the closing of the bridges across
the Harlem Eiver at Madison and Third avenues when the land trans-
portation over the bridges between the two shores is greatest, was
adopted by the department of public parks, New York City, Novem-
ber 30, 1892:

Jicaolved, That from and after tho 20th day of December, 1892, the draws of the
bridges across tho Harlem River at Madison and Third avenues shall not be opened
or operated between the hours of 6 and 10 o'clock in the forenoon, and between 4
and 7 o'clock in the afternoon, except when otherwise ordered. This rep^ulation
shall not ap|)ly to the boats of the fire department, nor to the regular transporta-
tion boats ot the New York and Northern Railway Company.

BRIDGES AFFECTED BY STATE ACTS, OR BY NOTICES SERVED BY
THE SECRETARY OF WAR.



1, Bridges at Third and Fourth aventies, Kew YorJc City. — The city
of Xew York, owning or controlling the bridge at Third avenue, and
tho New York Central and Hudson River Railroad Company, owning
or controlling the bridges at Fourth avenue, were notified by the Sec-
retary of War, July 2, 1890, to modify these bridges in accordance with
the recommendations of the Board of Engineers convened May 7,
1890, to consider, as stated in the Annual Report for 1890, the matter
of bridges across the Harlem River at Third and Fourth avenues, New
York City. These notices required that the modifications called for
should be completed by January 1, 1892.

The legislature of the State of New York, by act approved April 5,
1892, authorized and required an increased elevation of the Fourth



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APPENDIX E — REPORT OF LIEUT. COL. GILLESPIE. 745

avenue bridge, and provided for all changes in any avenues, streets,
and railroads that may be necessary by reason of such increased eleva-
tion. A commission to carry, out the provisions of this act was
appointed by the mayor of Few Tork City April 25, 1892. This act
will enable the railroad company to reconstruct this bridge in con-
formity with (he requirements of the notice of the Secretary of War,
which in the absence of the necessary legislative action the company
has not heretofore been able to carry out. Plans for the new bridge
received the approval of the Secretary of War August 5, 1892.

In order that the traffic across the river may not be suspended while
the permanent bridge is in process of construction, the railroad com-
pany applied to the Secretary of War for authority to build a tein-
porary bridge, provided with a 60-foot draw and situated 160 feet to
the northward of the old bridge. This application was granted May
27, 1892. The railroad company began work of modification in Septem-
ber, 1892, and is pushing it with satisfactory progress.

An act to provide for the reconstruction of the Third avenue bridge
was approved by the governor of the State of New York May 2, 1892,
and plans for the construction of the new bridge, prepared by the
departmeut of public works of IN^ew York City, received the approval
of the Secretary of War March 24, 1893.

The work of modification was begun in November, 1893.

The temporary bridge Avhich is to carry the traffic across the river
during the construction ot the permajient bridge is about completed,
and the pneumatic caisson for the south rest pier of the nermanent
bridge is underconstruction.

2. Bridge at Broadway crossing. — An act of the legislature of the
State of New York to provide for the construction of a bridge across
the Harlem Ship Canal, locally so called, on the line of Kingsbridge
road, or Broadway extended, was approved by the governor April 5,
1892. Plans for the construction of this bridge, conforming to the
general ])ro visions of the State act of 1879, as to height of lower chord
and length of spans, prepared by the department of public works of
New York City, received the approval of the Secretary of War Feb-
ruary 11, 1893. Work on the construction was begun in June, 1893.
Nearly all of the masonry of the piers and abutments of the bridge is
now completed, and the erection of the iron work of the suj>erstructure
has been begun.

3. Macomb Dam bridge. — The State act of April 29, 1S90, autboriz-
ing the department of public parks of New York City to reconstruct
the Macomb Dam bridge at Seventh avenue was amended by a bill
which became a law, without the signature of the governor, January
31, 1892. The amendment provides that the awards for property taken
shall not be paid out of the $1,250,000 appropriated for the bridge.
This bri'dge is now in process of construction under i)lans approved by
the Secretary of War September 7, 1891.

The masonry of all the piers and abutments is completed, and the
iron work of the superstructure is nearly all in place.

Application was made by the city of New York June 14, 1892, for
authority to build a temporary bridge 220 feet to the northward of the
old bridge, to be used by the ])ublic during the construction of the new
bridge. This application received the approval of the Secretary of War
July 5, 1892, and the bridge was completed August 26, 1892.

^. Bridge at mouth of Spuyten Duyril Creek. — As stated in the last
Annual Keport, Mr. Alexander J. Howell, on March 4, 1891, made com-
plaint to the Secretary of War that the railroad bndgo across the Spuy-



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74G REPORT OF THE CHIEF OF ENGINEERS, U. S. ARMY.

teu Duyvil Creek at its mouth was an obstruction to navigation by
reason of ''insufficient width of draw," under the river and harbor aet
of September 19, 1890.

Tiic matter was referred to the local officer, and public hearings were
given April 1 and 15, 1891, to the parties in interest.

The complaint was satisfied by the Kew York Central and Hudson
River Bailroad Company agreeing, as a temporary measure only, to
widen the draw opening to 50 feet, and to erect a st^am motor with
which to maneuver the di-awbridge. This agreement was approved by
the Secretary of War June 9, 1891, with the proviso that the modifica-
tions agreed upon should be regarded as a temporary measure to meet
the necessities of the navigation of the stream as they now exist, and
tlie date fixed for completion of the alterations was December 1, 1891.

Owing to various delays in the preparation of the plans and in let*
ing the work, and further delays on the part of the contractor, the
work of erecting the new draw was not begun until April, 1892. The
work was completed September 26, 1892.

Plans for the construction of a permanent bridge at this. point were
submitted to this office by the railroad company on May 31, 1894« As
the proposed elevation of the bridge above high water did not conform
to the requirements of the river and harbor act of September 19, 1890,
nor to those of the State act of May 20, 1879, regulating the height and
length of draw span of new bridges across the Harlem River and
Spuyten Duyvil Creek, the plans were forwarded to the Secretary of
War with the recommendation €liat they be not approved.

WORK DONE DURING THE FISCAL YEAR ENDING JUNE 30, 1894.

No contracts were in force, at the beginning of the year, the last two
contracts with John Satterlee having expired June 1, 1893.

Proposals for continuing the work under the changed conditions
brought about by the breaking of the dams and flooding of the work
during the severe storm of April 21, 1893, were invited July 24, 1893,
and with the approval of the Chief of Engineers contract was made
with the Morris & Cumings Dredging Company, the lowest responsible
bidders, September 8, 1893.

This contract provides for the removal by dredging of 258,000 cubic
yards, more or less, of mud, earth, and broken stone from the Harlem
Kiver, Spuyten Duyvil Creek, and from the remains of the dams inclos-
ing the rock cut through 'Dyckman Meadowj for the removal of 5,000
cubic yards of ledge rock under water, in the northeast end of this
cut; and for the construction of about 650 linear feet of cribwork and
475 linear feet of pile work revetment for protecting the sides of the
section of cut to be excavated.

Operations under this contract were begun September 15, lg93, and
at the close of the year the following work had been done:



I I Removed »-._.{_

1 Contract' during j 5?^" Jl
•quantity. I fiacaf '^^^^olj

1 _ -l_l_._' -



Drodjfinp: | On. yd*. I Cu.ydM. Ou.pd*.

From Spuyten Duyvil Creek and Meadow vrest of west dam 40, 000 ; 36, 413 3, 587

From ciiHt and west damn, and from canal prism between the two !

damH ' eo,000 : 46,323^ 13.677

From Meadow eaat of eaf t dam and in Harlem River 150, 000 i 62, 61D | 87, 381

Fromahonlsat Morris Dork and .-.fc High Bridge ' 8,000 10.165 '

R(K>k IN en vat ion :

Led«;e in northeast coruer of Dyckman Cut 5, 000 4, 380 620



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APPENDIX E — REPORT OF LIEUT. COL. GILLESPIE. 747

CribtcorJc and pile-work revetment, — Of the 650 linear feet of crib work
and 475 linear feet of pile- work revetment called for by tbo contract, 359
linear feet of crib work and 227 linear feet of pile work were built during
the year, all in the west eixd of the cut through Dyckman Meadow 300
feet of the crib work being located on the south side and 50 feet of the
crib work and the 227 feetof pile work on thenorth sideof thecut These
revetments are the westward continuation of the stone retaining Avails
heretofore built in the west end of the rock cut, and with them form
permanent margins to the sides of the cut, as far as it has been exca-
vated, to the full projected width and depth.

Wrecks.— On May 31, 1804, the bid of Mr. John F. Baxter for the
removal of an old ice barge lying in the channel off the foot of East
One hundred and forty-ftfth street was accepted, by authority of the
Chief of Engineers. The wreck was successfully removed on June 4,
1894, at a cost of $250.

RemovcH of rocky obstructions in the lower Harlem River, — Under
authority of the Chief of Engineers, granted September 8, 1893, opera-
tions for the removal of Candle Factory Reef, off the foot of East One
hundred and twenty-second street, were begun on September 11, using
the XJ. S. drill scow Hudson and hired labor, and continued to December
27, 1893, when operations ceased on account of ex)ld weather, and the
drill scow was laid up for necessary repairs. Work was resumed on
April 23, 1894, and is still in progress. Daring the period covered
by the operations 416 holes were drilled, all extending to below the
projected depth of 15 feet at mean low water, and 2,250 jMJunds of
forcite were expended. Those portions of the reef having a less depth
than 12 feet at mean low water were, however, worked upon chiefly
with the view of first obtaining a depth of 12 feet over the entire reef,
and, as further funds become available, to extend the improvement to
the final depth of 15 feet at low water. The broken rock was dredged



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