Morris County Commissioner Deputy Director Stephen Shaw joined Mayor James Lynch, Sheriff James Gannon and residents yesterday for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the reopening of the historic Stone Arch Bridge in Boonton.

The bridge, constructed by local mason John Carson Sr. in 1866, originally served as a viaduct providing fire protection for the Boonton Ironworks. It now serves as a pedestrian bridge and overlook for the Boonton waterfalls, and it is the only connection across the Rockaway River from Grace Lord Park to the old ironworks.

The restoration of the Stone Arch Bridge was completed through efforts of the Board of County Commissioners, the Town of Boonton and the N.J. Historic Trust.

“The Stone Arch Bridge is the only intact portion of the ironworks remaining,” said Shaw, who also presented a Morris County Historic Preservation plaque that will be affixed to the bridge. “This bridge not only connects us physically but also symbolizes our connection to the past. Its restoration ensures future generations can continue to enjoy its scenic views and appreciate its significance as a landmark on both the New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places.”

Since the inception of the county Historic Preservation program in 2003, the Commissioners have awarded 533 grants totaling nearly $49 Million to aid in the preservation, protection and restoration of 123 historical properties in 34 towns throughout the county.

The Stone Arch Bridge was supported with $368,160 in Historic Preservation Trust Fund Grants including:

  • A 2018 grant for completing a Conditions Assessment.
  • A 2019 grant for creating Construction Documents related to preservation and stabilization of the structure, landscape, and architecture.
  • A 2020 grant for stabilization and repair of the masonry structure, including stone cleaning, raking and repointing of mortar, and replacement of the concrete bridge deck.

The Grace Lord Park trail providing access to the bridge received $32,000 through the Morris County Trail Construction Grant program in 2021, which will make the area more accessible to residents and visitors when the project is complete.

“I’d like to thank the commissioners for supporting the Historic Preservation and Trail Construction programs,” said Mayor Lynch. “The trail development at Grace Lord Park will offer more opportunities for hiking, walking, and enjoying the views of the Boonton waterfalls and the Rockaway River. These trails not only serve recreational purposes but also highlight the historical importance of the Stone Arch Bridge and its role in connecting different parts of the park.”

“Today is a wonderful day for Boonton as we reopen this historic bridge,” said Sheriff Gannon. “It’s not just a bridge — it’s a piece of our history that connects us to the beauty of Grace Lord Park and the Boonton waterfalls.”

Article courtesy of the County of Morris.