History of The Margate Bridge, Linking Downbeach to the Mainland.

Downbeach Margate Causeway Bridge
Margate Bridge

The Margate Bridge is privately owned and crosses the bay and marshes between Absecon Island and the mainland.

From Margate, access to the bridge is from Jerome Avenue. Traffic over the bridge flows onto East Mill Road in Northfield, NJ.

The following story comes from the Margate Public Library.

During the early development of Margate, it was necessary to cross to the mainland by ferry or if by bridge, it had to be done via Atlantic City. While the railroad came all the way to Margate at the time, the railroad bridges were also via Atlantic City.

Railroad companies were the first developers of Absecon Island and the Downbeach region.

Beyond laying the track and building the engines, the Camden & Atlantic Railroad provided the cash needed to develop the Island.

In the mid-1850s, Dr. Jonathan Pitney saw Absecon Island as a health resort.

In 1938, the Commissioners of Margate City passed laws to enable construction of a private toll drawbridge across the meadows and back bays between Margate and the mainland. Jerome Ave was widened and paved to provide better access to the proposed Margate bridge.

The Margate‐Northfield Highway Bridge Company applied for permission to build the structure in May of 1938.

The Margate Bridge: Linking Downbeach to the Mainland

When it opened, the toll was 5 cents. Traffic across the bridge was sparse, forcing it to close as it was always in need of repair, and toll revenues were too low for it’s upkeep.

During this time, the Great Depression deepened. The public was frustrated with the bridge.

In 1935, a local paper ran an editorial suggesting the confiscation of the bridge by Margate City. The editorial concludes, “They expect to get twice what its worth, but if they get half of what it cost, it will still be too much in its present condition.” (Margate Beacon, Editorial, March 1935 in the Historical Society collection History of the Margate Bridge)

margate downbeach news bridge
Margate Bridge & Downbeach Express

In 1937, State funding was acquired for paving repairs to the Margate‐Northfield Boulevard. The Bridge Company was supposed to make sufficient repairs prior to re‐opening the bridge.

The bridge was purchased at a Sheriff’s sale in 1938 for the Hill Dredging Company. Repairs were made to the caissons of the bridge (structural supports which had sunk about 6 feet).

The Margate‐Northfield Bridge re‐opened July 14, 1939. The new toll was 25 cents.

It was popular when it re‐opened; the Margate Beacon Newspaper wrote that the bridge served record traffic.

_______________________________

In 1929, the Margate Northfield Bridge Company was formed to build a bridge from the City of Margate to Baker’s Wharf Landing in the township of Egg Harbor. It also purchased the right to build bridges over the navigable waters and the riparian rights. The land for the roadway was purchased from several meadow land owners.

The Margate Bridge. 2 and 1/4 miles long.

The bridges were opened for traffic in 1932 and started to collect tolls.

Soon after opening, the bridge was shuttered due to financial problems of the Margate Northfield Bridge Company.

On May 30, 1939, the Margate Bridge Company took over the assets of the Margate Northfield Bridge Company.

Jump ahead to 1964, the Margate Bridge stock was auctioned off in Federal Court. The Capaldi Family and the Hansen Family submitted the highest bid and acquired the Margate Bridge.

Related Posts

1 thought on “History of The Margate Bridge, Linking Downbeach to the Mainland.”

  1. Great history. I wonder who the Meadowland family owners were and how they acquired rights to the land in the first place?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.