Undiscovered New Paltz: The Carmine Liberta Bridge, History Preserved in Panorama

Plaque of Carmine Liberta on the bridge of his namesake. Photo by Vincent Carnevale

Past the shops and eateries of New Paltz, Main Street winds down to a small truss bridge that carries Route 299 over the Wallkill River.  The structure serves as a scenic connection between the lively town and the golden fields that roll toward the Shawangunk Ridge.

The overpass, originally constructed as a covered bridge in 1845, now serves as a charming escape from the busy downtown environment.  But County Bridge No. 135 underwent some changes to get to its current state.

In the 1890s it was renovated into a more sturdy iron bridge.  After its repair in 1940, scraps from the original iron material were melted and used to make war weapons.

In 2008, the bridge was renamed The Carmine Liberta Bridge, in honor of a Korean War veteran who was involved in many town activities until his death in 2006.

A plaque that displays Liberta’s portrait on a truss declares the structure to be a symbol of activism, a value that is widespread in the town. New Paltz was the location of several Vietnam War protests, and more recently, a site for the occupy movements.

Liberta contributed to many organizations throughout the town, but he was most noted for coordinating 43 annual Memorial Day parades.

Liberta’s devotion to his country is now preserved in the bridge’s serene panorama that reflects the ideals of life, liberty and happiness. If you’re looking to soak in the history and the beautiful landscape of Ulster County, the trusses of the Carmine Liberta Bridge offer just the place.