Thursday, June 30, 2011

Hidden New Jersey trivia: the Outerbridge Crossing

Yesterday was the anniversary of the opening of the Outerbridge Crossing, the span that connects Perth Amboy, New Jersey with Staten Island. Along with its sister to the north, the Goethals Bridge, it was constructed by the Port of New York Authority (now the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey) and opened on June 29, 1928.

Many travelers know of the Outerbridge but if you asked them the origin of the name, it's highly doubtful they'd come close to the right answer. While it's the southernmost crossing connecting New Jersey with a portion of New York, it's not the Outerbridge because it's the outermost roadway among them all. Rather, it's named for Eugenius Outerbridge, the first chairman of the Port Authority. Obviously they weren't going to call it the Outerbridge Bridge. Well, I guess they could have, but it would have sounded pretty silly.

Outerbridge himself was a pretty interesting man, having led the Port Authority as it conceived a comprehensive development plan for the harbor. Born in Philadelphia, he spent much of his career in importing/exporting. He also ran a business that made fiberboard for vehicle roofs, eventually manufacturing a product called Homasote, which used recycled materials.  Plus his sister Mary was the creator of American lawn tennis. No word on whether she ever played on fiberboard.

Now... a question for you! From what or whom does the Holland Tunnel get its name?

2 comments:

  1. It was named after the chief engineer on the project Clifford Holland who died of a heart attack before the project was completed.

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