thequestfor135

Court Street Bridge

In Musings, Rants and Explanations on May 20, 2009 at 9:57 pm

One of the better views when running out the front door of my house is from the Court Street bridge. It’s also the beginning of the flat leg of my run. That is probably why I like it so much.

It has a unique history. Here is a brief write up from http://www.woonsocket.org/depot.htm:

Originally known as the Hamlet Avenue Bridge, the first bridge at this site was a rickety wooden structure built in 1868. The bridge rested on wooden posts imbedded into rocks at the bottom of the Blackstone River. Thoroughly inadequate for the growing level of traffic entering Depot Square, complaints about this bridge led to calls for the construction of a new, more substantial structure in the early 1890’s.

Construction of the original Court Street Bridge began in 1893. Several buildings on the Main Street had to be moved or demolished to provide access to the bridge from Depot Square. In a novel approach, trusses for this 562 foot bridge were placed below the bridge deck to allow unobstructed of views across the river. When completed in 1895, the new bridge contained 100,000 rivets, 40,000 bolts and weighed 1,850 tons.

The Court Street Bridge was dedicated on June 22, 1895 before a crowd of 15,000. Considering that Woonsocket’s population at the time was 25,000, this was a major community event. The centerpiece was a huge arch that spelled out “City of Woonsocket”. Lights were also strung the length of the bridge. Ceremonies included a parade, band music and speeches by Mayor Aram Pothier and Woonsocket historian Erastus Richardson.

In 1899, the Court Bridge was the starting point for Woonsocket’s first Labor Day Parade. The Industrial Trade Union kept the Labor Day Parade tradition alive through the 1940’s and 1950’s. Recently, the Greater Woonsocket Labor Council and the Museum of Work and Culture have reinstated this 100-year-old Labor Day tradition.

The original Court Street Bridge served as a vital link between Bernon and Depot Square for 104 years until it was demolished with strategically placed explosive charges on January 22, 1999. Its replacement was completed in July of 2000, reestablishing this historic crossing over the Blackstone.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: