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New York's Historic King  Iron Bowstring Bridge in Newfield


Bridging Communities through History

About the King Bowstring Bridge

Karen Van Etten,  with her dog Ranger, on the King Bowstring Bridge April 2013.

Plaque by the  King Bridge paying tribute to the many community members and preservation groups making this project possible. The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, Historic Ithaca, The History Center of Tompkins County and the Preservation League of New York State all contributed to the effort.
Mills Park dedicated to Eliakim Dean, first millwright in the hamlet.  Great-great great granddaughter of Eliakim Dean, Lois Williams & husband, Peter Williams gifted this land for a beautiful park in the Town of Newfield.

Bridge History


The Newfield King Bowstring Bridge is one of only 5 King Bowstring bridges left in New York State. Zenas King, master bridge builder, received his first bridge  patent in 1861. Known as the King-Frees patent. Soon after that King moved to Cleveland, Ohio where he would build his first factory and name it The King Iron Bridge & Manufacturing Company, Cleveland, Ohio.

For the next 60 years King built over 5000 bridges across the United States, as far West as California and North to Maine.

Over the past one hundred years many King Bridges have been replaced by modern steel bridges. Preservation is not always a costly endeavor, there are many State and Federal funding opportunities that can be investigated. 

I began advocating for the King Bowstring Bridge in 2000. When my attempt to add the King Bowstring Bridge to the National Register of Historic Places in Washington D.C. A question of ownership and responsibility became a bone of contention for the municipalites involved. Demolition was one of the possible outcomes, and I couldn't let that happen. By 2004 the bridge had been historically preserved. Historical preservation may take a little longer then ordering a modern bridge from a catalogue, but it is worth waiting for. 

Serving in the United States Air Force as a emergency room technichian both Stateside and Overseas in Ankara, Turkey for four years

A  past Newfield Town Board Member 2002-2005

Living in Newfield, New York most of my 50 years and hope to add historic tourism to our area in Upstate New York


Continue to write numerous articles regarding the preservation of the King Bowstring Bridge for the Newfield News and Ithaca Journal