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Tappan Zee Bridge History On Display

As part of Rockland County’s celebration of the New York State Quadricentennial, The Historical Society of Rockland County presents the exhibition, The Tappan Zee Bridge: Transforming Rockland County through October 2009.

The museum’s exhibit  shows not only the circumstances and politics of building the bridge and its larger connection to the NYS Thruway, but how the Tappan Zee Bridge became an iconic image for Rockland County and inspired thousands in the area.

This ambitious exhibition chronicles the dramatic changes that the Tappan Zee Bridge has brought to Rockland County, transforming it from a quiet rural farming community to a sophisticated suburb of New York City.  Constructed in 1955, the bridge symbolizes the new suburb that was created practically overnight, with city folks and new American immigrants seeking the fresh air, mountains, river and beauty that existed here and making it their home.

The Tappan Zee Bridge: Transforming Rockland County features the story of the bridge told through rare photographs and drawings, blueprints, items from the opening day, oral histories from bridge workers’€“those who moved because of the building of the bridge and those whose lives were affected from its construction and the construction of the NYS Thruway extension’€“plus much more.

Rockland has a treasure trove of historic sites, and the TZB enables people to more easily visit these crucibles that helped form our emerging nation.  One can find National Register sites such as the DeWint House (Washington’s Headquarters during the Revolutionary War), the Major Andre Memorial, the Old ’76 House, the Stony Point National Battlefield, the1832 Jacob Blauvelt House, the Molly Sneden House and Ferry Landing, Camp Shanks and the Edward Hopper House, to name a few.

Since the Tappan Zee Bridge’s replacement is now in the planning stages. it has become more important than ever to preserve the tumultuous story of this historic bridge and how it has brought both immigration and heritage tourism to Rockland. While HSRC will host the main exhibition, satellite exhibits will be held throughout the county, in addition to lectures, historic walking tours and other presentations during the Quadricentennial year.

The exhibition project is directed by Dr. Roger Panetta, an award-winning authority on Hudson Valley history and heritage, who is writing a book and catalogue to accompany the exhibition. Rockland County Historian and Historical Society President Dr. Thomas F.X. Casey is chief historian. Dr. Travis Jackson heads up the Oral History Project.

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Admission is $7; $5 HSRC members; $3 children under 12 and includes free admission to the historic 1832 Jacob Blauvelt House on Sundays from 12:00-4:00 p.m.

Exhibition hours are Tuesdays through Sundays, 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. and the exhibition runs through October 2009.

The Historical Society of Rockland County is located at 20 Zukor Road in New City. For more information call 845-634-9629 or visit

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