On July 4, 1973 the Mill River was still swollen following heavy rains and flooding powerful enough to have rerouted the main channel of the Mill River about 2 miles downstream from where the Long Trail crossed the gorge. That flooding had also destroyed the suspension bridge built at the gorge in 1958. Seventeen year old Bob Brugmann of Flemington, NJ was spending the summer hiking the Appalachian/Long Trail starting in Maine and heading south. At the gorge he attempted to cross the river via a downed tree but lost his footing and was swept away. His body was found 4 days later about 2 miles downstream where the railroad crossed the river.
The current bridge was built the following summer and the plaque shown in the cover photo placed in memory of Bob Brugmann. That photo is courtesy of Phil Mandolare in 2020. See the Clarendon Gorge Suspension Bridge entry in the Bridges collection for information about the construction of the replacement bridge in 1974.
See the Mill River Railroad Bridge - North in the Railroad collection for photos of the damage to the bridge at the railroad crossing from that flood. That is the area where his body was found.
Below is a photo of Bob Brugmann from the 1974 Hunterdon Central High School yearbook. Following that is the July 5 and July 6, 1973 Rutland Herald articles about the search for Bob and then a July 10, 1973 article from the Herald News (in Passaic, NJ) about his body being found.
At the bottom is the July 13, 1973 obituary in The Record (in Hackensack, NJ) and lastly an August 22, 1974 Rutland Herald article announcing the memorial for Bob Brugmann.