Thursday, September 22, 2011

Memorial Bridge

Memorial Bridge, located at the eastern ends of Daniel Street and State Street, carries U. S. Route 1 from Portsmouth, NH to Kittery, Maine. Officially named the World War Memorial Bridge, it is locally known as Memorial Bridge or simply the Lower Bridge.

A plaque over the New Hampshire entrance to the bridge reads:

Memorial to the Sailors and Soldiers of
New Hampshire
Who Participated in the World War 1917-1919

Before Memorial Bridge opened, regular ferry service connected Portsmouth and Kittery.

Construction began in 1920, two years after the end of World War I, and the bridge opened on August 17, 1923. New Hampshire Governor Fred H. Brown and Maine Governor Percival P. Baxter met in the middle of the bridge during opening ceremonies.

This was the first vertical lift bridge in New England, and the first bridge across the Piscataqua River to open without a toll charge for vehicles. The towers are 200 feet high, and the 297-foot-long lift span raises 170 feet to allow for river traffic.

Pedestrian Walkway
Despite a spirited effort to save the historic bridge, engineers closed the roadway to vehicular traffic on July 27, 2011. The bridge is due to be replaced by 2014.

There are very few days remaining to walk across before War Memorial Bridge closes to pedestrian and bicycle traffic forever!

The bridge offers scenic views of the Portsmouth and Kittery shores. At the Maine end of Memorial Bridge are John Paul Jones Park and the Maine Sailors and Soldiers Memorial, a bronze bas relief sculpted by Bashka Paeff and framed by granite.
River Side of Bow Street in Portsmouth

Maine Lobster Shack

Maine Sailors and Soldiers Memorial
Moran Tugboats
Portsmouth Naval Shipyard
Below are two rare videos showing bridge construction and opening ceremonies. The 5-year-old girl who cuts the ribbon to officially open Memorial Bridge is Eileen (Dondero) Foley, who later served eight terms as the Mayor of Portsmouth!

1 comment:

  1. A beautiful tribute to a bridge that has had its presence in my own life...