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Old Mar 8, 2011, 2:00 PM   #1
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Default Stone Arch Bridge on Callicoon Creek

It snowed very lightly overnight so I drove northwest in the direction of upstate New York to take pictures. My destination was the Stone Arch Bridge at Kenoza Lake, a hamlet in the town of Callicoon, about an hour’s drive away through mountaintop highways and farmlands.

The Stone Arch Bridge at Kenoza Lake was built by Swiss German immigrants in 1880. In 1892, a man was murdered there.

One night while a farmer was crossing the Stone Arch Bridge on Callicoon Creek, a pair of men shot him five times in the head. The men then clubbed him with the wooden chair leg the farmer was using for a cane. His body was thrown into the icy waters below the bridge. (source: fodors.com)

The men were arrested by police. They denied committing the murder. But everyone in town knew the truth. The men believed the farmer was a sorcerer who put a hex on their cattle and crops and the only way to lift the hex was to kill the farmer. (source: nytimes.com)

A “hex” is a curse cast by a witch or sorcerer. The word’s origin is sketchy but may date back to the time of Moses who, in addition to being a prophet, was also believed to be a magician. The Torah that Moses authored appears as the first five books of the Bible. But some believe there are others. A sixth -- hence the term “hex” -- a seventh, and possibly more texts are in circulation up to the present day. These secret texts are called grimoires.

A grimoire is a textbook for magic. It contains secret knowledge on casting spells, invoking the supernatural, and summoning demons. Whoever possesses such book may gain mastery in the dark arts and -- for a fee -- cast spells for the removal of unsuspecting victims. Grimoires were brought from Germay to early America by the Pennsylvania Dutch (source: Cabinet of Wonders), and it may well just be the farmer’s dumb luck that he happened to be a German immigrant.

Stone arch bridges were common when steel and iron weren’t yet introduced in construction. They’re easy enough to build -- simply fashion wooden scaffolding in the shape of an arc and lay bricks on top of it. Because the bricks push down on one another along the arc, with the placement of a “keystone” -- a wedge or inverted trapezoidal stone at the top of the arc -- the formation stays in place even when the scaffolding underneath is eventually removed. (source: technologystudent.com)

Stone arch bridges by their grace and strength are pleasing to look at. One might imagine a horse drawn carriage crossing on top or a woman gingerly strolling as in Monet’s “Woman on Bridge”. Indeed, parks are created at stone arch bridge sites nowadays. They are places where one might wonder at one of man’s lasting creations.

But the Stone Arch Bridge at Callicoon Creek begs to differ. The farmer’s spirit, the townsfolk believe, never left the bridge. Whereas by day the bridge is filled with fun and activity as families gather to picnic, fish, or swim, by night, it takes an ominous turn for its darker history. It is said that at night, the farmer’s ghost can be seen endeavoring to complete the crossing on Callicoon Creek.

#1) Stone Arch Bridge at Callicoon Creek in the Hamlet of Kenoza Lake, Town of Callicoon, NY.


#2) Callicoon Creek.


#3) Small dam at Callicoon Creek.


#4) The sun peeks through the clouds to shine on this tree.


#5) Playground near the Stone Arch Bridge.


#6) By day the bridge is a place for awe and wonder...


#7) ...by night the farmer's ghost beckons...


Thank you for looking. C&C welcome.
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Old Mar 8, 2011, 2:46 PM   #2
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VERY cool series here, very interesting narration as well,, I love historical places and when you know about certain history it adds to the mystique,, excellent series of images very nicely processed, did you do some tone mapping or hdr work on those ? very nice dynamic range !! interesting last image too
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Old Mar 8, 2011, 4:18 PM   #3
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Absolutely stunning series as per usual. The last 3 are my faves. Thanks for the background info as well, v v v interesting.
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Old Mar 8, 2011, 5:17 PM   #4
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Wow, you continue to amaze me with your photos and stories. Keep em coming.
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Old Mar 8, 2011, 11:08 PM   #5
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Dang, not only are you a brilliant photographer, but a well read one at that!!! Awsome photographs, brilliant execution and "spell binding" narriative!! Frank
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Old Mar 9, 2011, 10:27 AM   #6
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Thanks a lot jharris1001, DyaneG, Frank.

jaharris1001, yes, I did use HDR. I am so hooked on it I could not take pictures without HDR in mind. I use DPHDR5 with the optional Fusion step, Topaz, and Photoshop. I'm a bit heavy on pp as I guess you can say I love using my computer as much as I love taking pictures.

jharris1001, DyaneG, Frank, I found out photography has become a way for me to learn about places. I used to enjoy reading nonfiction (and still do) because I learn about places I’ve never been to. Now with photography I visit a place, become curious, and then read about it. I found out learning about a place the other way around is just as enjoyable with the added bonus of actually having been there.

#8) Looking up at the park from the creek.



#9) NY Route 52A can be seen in the distance to the right. Although the bridge leads there, barrier fencing blocks the intersection. The bridge is for sightseeing on foot only, not vehicles.
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Old Mar 9, 2011, 4:38 PM   #7
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Stunning.
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Old Mar 9, 2011, 10:20 PM   #8
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They remind me of Currier & Ives prints....

Wonderful work!


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Old Mar 11, 2011, 7:56 AM   #9
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Thank you, banksy, interested_observer.

From wikipedia, Currier & Ives was a firm in the 1880s that "produced prints from paintings by fine artists as black and white lithographs that were hand colored." I think in my photos above, DPHDR5's Fusion step created the similar effect, that is, hand-colored b&ws. I notice the difference -- as if Fusion played with the "Levels" sliders in Photosho -- compared to when I omit the Fusion step and go straight to tonemapping.

#10) The Stone Arch Bridge is at the intersection of NY Routes 52 and 52A.


#11) The historical marker reads,

"Stone Arch Bridge"

"This three arched stone arch bridge was built around 1880 by Swiss German immigrants Henry and Philip Hembt. It is located on a road which was important in the settlement of central Sullivan County. This route served as a major means of transport between the Old Newburgh Cochecton Turnpike and the Callicoon Valley.

"One of the few hex murders on record in the Upper Delaware Valley was committed on this bridge in 1882.

"This bridge is listed on the National Register of Historic Places."

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