When you had to pay a toll to cross the Susquehanna River

This dapper taker of tolls on the old Wrightsville-Columbia Bridge, aka Veterans Memorial Bridge has descendants who remember him well. Abraham Lincoln Clair was the receipient of visits from his family, including his granddaughter, Jean Klinedinst of Manchester Township. This York Sunday News story, from February 1979, the toll taker with his chair. (See additional bridge photograph below.)  Also of interest: Susquehanna River bridge headquarters counted the tolls.

Jean Klinedinst of Manchester Township said Gordon Freireich’s recent York Sunday News column on Susquehanna River bridges awakened some pleasant childhood memories.

Her thoughts, expressed in this email, are typical of many York countians who follow the two existing bridges connecting Wrightsville and Columbia:

“My paternal Grandfather was a toll taker on the bridge. My Grandparents lived in Columbia on Locust Street, we lived in York. Sundays we would get in the car and make the trip to Columbia to visit them. I don’t know if he was the only toll taker on the bridge, but whenever we made to trip to Columbia he was the toll taker.

“I remember arguing with my two older sisters over who was going to give grandpa the 25 cent toll. I don’t remember how my parents solved that problem…they could have given us each a coin, two dimes & a nickel, that would have worked!”

Also of interest:

5 quick facts about the wide Susquehanna River’s long Veterans Memorial Bridge.


This is one of two lamps from Veterans Memorial Bridge. The lamps outline an intersection on East Prospect Road. (Courtesy of Gordon Freireich)

About Jim McClure

Editor of the York Daily Record/Sunday News, ydr.com and its many digital products. East Region Editor, Digital First Media. Journalism/history blogger: yorktownsquare.com. Author or co-author of seven York County, Pa., history books.
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