Sepia Saturday - A Bridge That Floats?

Seriously this bridge did float at one time. And yes it's another Sepia Saturday bridge post. (my obsession)

Welcome to the Floating Bridge in Lynn Massachusetts. The original bridge was constructed in the early 1800's as part of the Salem Turnpike, the main highway from Boston to Salem. As with most bridges of this era it was a toll bridge. The lake here is rather wide and it really couldn't be constructed of spans with the limited technology of the era.

So why did they decide to build the turnpike across the lake here? Well most of the turnpike is a staight line from Boston to Salem. As you can see from both photos there is a steep hill on the Salem side. This was where the lowest gap was in that ridge. So across the lake they went.

Then there was a legend that the lake was "bottomless." No technology was available to drive piles into a "bottomless" lake so they constructed pontoons to float the plank deck. Over the years the deck was repaired upon the planks of the original deck. This made for a rather top heavy floating bridge. When burdoned wagons drove across the deck would sink to water level making for a frightening ride.

In the early 1900's a travelling circus was routed toward Salem over the Floating Bridge. The elephants were the only animals that after putting one foot on the bridge refused to cross. History doesn't tell us how they managed to get to Salem.

Photo: CrazyasaCoolFox
Around 1926, because of complaints from lack of fire protection on the north side, the bridge was rebuilt this time with pilings. It was discovered that the lake was not "bottomless" after all. A railway company had built a piling style bridge just to the north. Finally the floating bridge was stationary.

Around 1995 the "Floating Bridge," (yes it retains that name to this day) was rebuilt and redesigned. They designed it to look as though it floats even though it's made of concrete. This is the bridge you see today in the lower photo.


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