The Royce Brook Bridge

Ok, here is another submission from Tim K. I hope im correct on assuming i know what this is. When I was a young guy I used to mess around down by the Royce Brook woods in the Little Weston part of Manville, and in that field where the huge “Horseshoe Track” was. The one that buts up against the Whelan St bridge. Just a bit upstream from the main bridge there was always a pile of concrete and rubble, where there had clearly used to have been another bridge. I used to wonder as a kid why they would put a bridge right next to another bridge, and I guess I always just assumed it was a tiny footbridge. There were rumors when I was a kid that someone tried to drive a car over it and it collapsed… but I hardly believe that to be true. This photo is another puzzle piece, at least in my mind about what the bridge really looked like… (with those damn Kopsko kids standing on it). I guess the million dollar question is… is this my mystery bridge and if so what the hell happened to it? Tim… care to elaborate on this?


31 thoughts on “The Royce Brook Bridge

  1. that’s the little bridge that used to go over the royce was near that old baseball field they had down was made of pipes and you remember old harry the crossing guard that was stationed there before and after school?

    • The foot bridge was taken out sometime around when they built the big bridge. When I was a kid, it was the only way to get from the Southside to Weston w/o going all the way down to Main St.
      The bridge was part-way between Memorial Park and the current bridge. The most popular approaches were from S 13th Ave (there was a vacant lot where the current bridge approach is), where you came rocketing down the steep slope onto the flood plain with a 90 degree turn at the bottom to parallel the brook, and from near Onka St. on the Weston side, where the trail led right to the bridge.
      Both hills were popular spots to go sledding — the Weston side was wider, longer and had more vertical drop, so more kids went there. The Southside site was steeper and bumpier, and if it was really icy you could ride your sled right into the brook (trust me, I know).

      • i used to go sledding right from my back yard before all the trees grew in.the whelan st. bridge (13th ave.) was built around 1981 or 82. i remember they had the mayor cut the ribbon at the opening was mayor dudash at the time.

      • actually,they tore down that big old house to be able to go straight down from s.13th ave.and across to the street on the other side of the brook the field is still there for the most part.timknj.

  2. I’m trying to get an old pic of my house (that we just bought) in the dead end of Dominic at the corner of White ave, right up against the Royce Brook. Is this near that? Anyone have anything?

    • I believe you bought your house from my daughter, I hope you’re enjoying it. I think someone named Duda owned it quite a while ago.

  3. This looks to me like the bridge over Royce Brook. I remember riding my bike over it to get from Weston to the public swimming pool. This would be in the 70’s. I think that was the end of the bridge’s life span. Seems like it was gone sometime during the 80’s. Some of the cross country race courses for the high school used to go over this bridge. The path/road up to Roosevelt Blvd was very steep.

  4. That was the bridge that replaced the little wood and pipe bridge. I believe they built that bridge after the Army Corp widened(destroyed) the brook. They had to clear out the old bridge. And I think residents may have made a stink because the kids had to get across the brook to go to the HS.

  5. They widened the brook??? THAT EXPLAINS ALOT! I’ve been looking at the arials for Manville and I noticed my property line in back further then it was along the brook. I had thought it was due to natural erosion over the past 80 or some odd years and flooding. When did they do this?

  6. I think this was done in the 60’s. It was so much nicer before the Army Corp messed with it. I lived across a field up on a hill and I watched them destroy the brook. I knew it couldn’t be good even back then. I just kept thinking about all the wildlife being killed. It still saddens me when I think about it. The brook never recovered from it.

    • What did they do? If you don’t mind my asking. I’m just curious. Did they just go up and down it and widen the banks? Is this why most of the brook in weston has high banks like cliffs? I was wondering why a good handful of trees on my property are half sticking out of the bank of the brook.

    • hey tom,i remember i caught my first fish in that brook by that one kind of sharp bend.i was very young,maybe about 6 or 7 you took me fishing and i hooked into what seemed like a giant sucker seemed like a big fish but was probly a pound or two.i don’t even know if you remember that.

  7. Don’t mind you asking at all. Those high banks have always been there from just west of where the little bridge used to be and west up into the woods a little way from what I can remember. I haven’t been down there in over 25 years. The brook used to be a little winding brook with many diverse areas. Some places were deep and slow other shallow and faster current…Stony bottom areas , deep mud areas. Now the banks are much higher for most of the stretch between the little bridge and Main St. But yeah, they just came in with bulldozers and levelled everything then widened the brook. AND KILLED EVERYTHING IN THEIR WAY!

  8. The Royce Brook bridge was a footbridge. It was right behind my house. But it was wide enough for a car. I have an 8mm film of a Manville P.D. car stopping on the bridge to watch us kids playing on the frozen brook. It was a brown 61 Dodge, If memory serves me right! Gotta get those old films out and watch them! Mike K

    • You know, you should find those films… let’s convert em into digital movies! I’ll totally help… even if it means paying to get it done.

  9. then after that i remember they put up a railroad tie up on it’s end stuck in the ground so cars couldn’t drive over it.but i also remember what happened to that bridge.2 brothers (i won’t mention thier last name)peter and eddie blew it up with homemade bombs made out of all kinds of fireworks.tom k. you know who i’m talking about.

  10. I used to live on Somerville Ave near this bridge which crossed the Royce brook. We used it to get to the high school from Weston. It was in bad shape in the 80’s due to fire but was still used. Raritan ave was dirt from Onka St behind Weston school to Whalen Ave and there was a improvised skating pond over there. We used to sled down the hill behind Weston school, over the ball field, accross the dirt road and then down the hill to the edge of the brook all in one shot. It was a heck of a walk back to the starting point at the school but the ride was worth it. Crashed into the brook a few times but it was too shallow to worry. Anyone remember the fishing derbies back there?

    • I remember sledding that hill. That was the best sledding to date. Last year I was showing my son where the foot bridge was. The foundation to the bridge is still there.

  11. If you lived even farther south,near the airport-it was a HORRIBLE scary dangerous trek to MHS in 1964

    If you did not want to risk getting killed by walking along the Main from where the Schmalz Dairy was all the way to Brooks,Remember the old underpass-you could get killed in there…you had to get down the tracks at S.Greasheimer and climb back up the other side of N.Greasheimer.In the winter ice,or in the Spring mud,or when a train was stopped on the tracks-you took your silly life in jeapordy every single day.Many a time you would be under the train when it suddenly started.And the journey was far from over,You still had to cross the brook.
    It was flooded? Guess what,you were going to be late because now you had to go backwards down Raritan ave ,Whalen & Frech to get to The Main.You were better off skipping school that day,because teachers just weren’t buying a lame excuse like ice or mud or floods.

    Sidewalks? you’re kidding.Crossing guards? yeah right. I figured it was about a mile and a half to Brooks.Carrying books in bad weather,Today’s kids have no clue.Sitting in a nice cold MHS with wet feet and clothes- a thrill like no other.

  12. Man,come on.If you lived in weston in the 60’s and early 70’s you walked across that bridge to get ti 13th.The high school.I was in the back of a volcswagon beetle with 9 guys in it,and we drove across that bridge.We used to have fights on that bridge.{weston against south side} Turn over a rock in the brook and see if you can catch a crayfish.Bobby sano,nettles,davey novashelsky,suds,the weston gang.

    • Knew all of them guys.Know most of them are passed on.Never made it to the ‘Golden Years’ and most of them were tadpoles,not even in High School when we speak of the time Tom K is referring to,like 1964 on.

      Seventh and Eighth grade was in the MHS then.You had to look out for your life as a WAY Underclassed student,a punk.MHS had some BIG, STRONG people to dodge.

      • OK i love this whole comment section.
        “I was in the back of a volcswagon beetle with 9 guys in it,and we drove across that bridge.We used to have fights on that bridge.{weston against south side}”
        hahaha… yes!

  13. When I was young I spent most of my summers “down the brook”. There was so much to do and so much to see..Now,,,,meh. They killed or destroyed everything when the Army Corp came through with the bulldozers.

  14. I remember that foot bridge. We lived on South 16th between Camplain Rd and Vermont Ave. We played a lot of baseball down there and also spent a lot of time at the pools. I always thought the reason I attended Camplain Rd school rather than Weston was because of the frequent Royce Brook flooding, and not being able to cross that bridge. During my high school daze I was once chased by Manville police across that bridge riding a friend’s dirt bike. I JUST BARELY made it up that incline as he stopped and watched from the bridge. I also remember the skating pond nearby. One time a friend tricked me into thinking I had blood suckers attached to my legs as we combed through the brook. I ran all the way home screaming and crying. My parents weren’t home, so I went next door to the Davenport’s and Sonya gave me a lollypop. All was well!

    • Ah, the brook. The dirt track, baseball, the pool, the burnouts hanging at the memorial park table. Those were good days. I lived by weston school. Hung out on the bridge quite often. Remember that volkswagon going over the bridge too. Yea, if ever getting chase by the cops, just cross over that bridge. HA HA

  15. I remember that brige. I grew up on Roosevelt – one block away from the pool. My friends and I fished from that bridge all the time. I remember it being burned and then rebuilt. And then burned again. After that, it was deemed unsafe and knocked down. I don’t remember what year it went away. VERY early 80’s, I believe, because there used to be enough rubble in the water to still be able to cross without getting wet.

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