Does a Piece of Television History Lie Beneath This New Hampshire Bridge?
In 2018, the fencing finally went up around the General Sullivan Bridge in Dover. Long ago deemed unsafe for cars and trucks, the historic bridge is forever off-limits to pedestrians.
According to NHDOT, the bridge was opened in 1934. When you gaze over at the creaky connector now, its trappings look something like a steel cage, which is fitting when you consider its place in television and pop culture history.
Opened in 1995, the Whittemore Center in Durham, New Hampshire, marked the state’s first major foray into the arena game. Located on campus at the University of New Hampshire, The Whit was the go-to alternative for locals who didn’t feel like traveling all the way down to Boston’s new, impersonal FleetCenter (now the historic TD Garden).
While unable to lure the Bruins or Celtics to New Hampshire, the Whittemore Center was the perfect destination for a New England-based company looking to reinvent itself in the fall of 1997.
In 2023, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is widely regarded as the biggest movie star in the world. But in the late '90s, he was a bad guy wrestler hoping to maintain some unexpected momentum.
Long before playing Black Adam, The Rock was scarfing down crab Rangoons along Route 1. He was also enjoying his first run as a champion in WWE.
But The Rock’s prized title belt would take an unexpected tumble as he looked on helplessly from inside The Whittemore Center on December 15, 1997, as Stone Cold Steve Austin stood on our very own General Sullivan Bridge and did this:
The next time you admire the view of Little Bay and the Piscataqua River as you drive from the alleged town of Newington into Dover, maybe pull over to do some fishing. Because you might just reel in Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s first WWE title belt.