A charming enclave of 16 homes in Brighton, NY, surrounds Allen’s Creek off Edgewood Avenue near Monroe. Built by developer Donald Woods starting in 1939, it included the diversion of the creek to allow for a series of automobile bridges to serve the houses on the north side. Construction initially began from Roosevelt Ave. in the rear, until these four bridges over the creek were built.
Due to steel shortages during WWII, Mr. Woods found an innovative solution to the quandary of bridge construction—the use of recycled of railroad car frames, from the Bettendorf Car Company of Leavenworth, Kansas. Started in 1895, by 1920 they had become the largest manufacturer of rail cars east of the Mississippi, employing 3000; by 1932 they had closed their doors. We surmise that some of their cars ended up at Merchants Despatch Transportation Company, incorporated in 1880 in East Rochester. Fabricators of railroad cars, and buyers of other companies in their ascendance, they put out 36 refrigerated train cars a day in their prime. Bettendorf frames were an innovation in their one piece forged steel design, with no bolts or joints to loosen during use on train cars.
The flow of Allen’s Creek is a dynamic environment. Seemingly placid at 12” deep, a rapid thaw or violent thunderstorm can quickly raise its height 6’, to lap at the bridge decks. Record floods in 1947, 1960 and 1974 innundated Stonybrook Drive and surrounding yards, but did no damage to structures, a testament to Mr. Woods planning. Our building permit from the Town of Brighton stipulated the proper attachment of the replacement beam to its concrete abutments, so that it might not float away in this possible one hundred year event.