We're blessed by an abundance of water in Baldwinsville.
Because we live in a temperate rain forest, our predictable pattern of precipitation throughout the year is interrupted only by a handful of sunny days. But, all that water has to go somewhere.
The Seneca River drains some of the larger Finger Lakes, before flowing through Cross Lake on its way through Jack's Reef and Dead Creek to Baldwinsville and beyond. Oneida Lake supplies the Oneida River, which joins the Seneca at Three Rivers Point to form the Oswego River. Before flowing north through Phoenix, Fulton and Oswego on its way to Lake Ontario, the Oswego River is further fed by Ox Creek.
Sometimes, when crossing over the river into Baldwinsville or Phoenix, I just have to stop and gaze at the sheer beauty of the water as it slowly flows below. Still, surrounded by so many creeks, lakes and rivers, it's easy to take all this running water for granted. Since the Seneca River separates our two towns and splits our village in half, there was a time when a fair amount of time and effort was required to cross it. But today, our many modern bridges make very quick work of getting to the other side. There are five bridges connecting the town of Lysander to other towns in Onondaga and Oswego counties, not including railroad and interstate bridges, or bridges over the barge canal. They include bridges over the Seneca River at Jack's Reef, Baldwinsville, Cold Springs and Belgium and one over the Oswego River at West Phoenix. But, since there were a number of Baldwinsville bridges dating back to 1807, let's focus on those in the four little hamlets for now.
Jacks Reef Bridge
Pioneers first settled Jack's Reef west of where one of the two state roads, the one now known as the Plainville Road, crossed the Seneca River. According to a Messenger article written in August 1973 by Tony Christopher, "Very early in 1800, two state roads were laid out in this region. One of these roads .was surveyed to cross the Seneca River near Adams Ferry .As to the matter of spanning the river, a bridge was ordered by the supervisors of the towns of Camillus and Lysander .The most feasible spot then stood near Adams' farm on the Lysander side, where a member of his family had run a ferry service for some time."