Love Quirky Bridges? Massachusetts Has the Oldest Stone Bridge in America
When looking at the Boston skyline, you can't help but notice one of the most magnificent cable-stayed bridges, the Zakim Bridge. Bridges are interesting in design, structure, and artistically as well.
The old wooden structure bridges are not only impractical now, but dangerous. Except for a few notables, few still exist in America compared with stone arches of centuries gone by.
Imagine when civil engineers (not their title back in the 1600s) were faced with making a bridge from stones. Masonry work was an art, so in 1764, when a new bridge was needed to cross the river just north of Boston, I can imagine it was a structural marvel. In fact, that bridge is still in use today.
Living in Ipswich, Massachusetts, for almost 30 years, I feel like I am part of the history, but I am not. The history of Ipswich runs deep with some of America's favorite names like John Winthrop, Captain John Whipple, and John Updike, along with interesting stories, iconic houses, and one historic bridge.
Farmers, fisherman, ship builders, lace makers, clammers and a large hosiery factory have all been trades woven into the fabric of this small town on the North Shore, about an hour from Boston.
The Choate Bridge was completed in 1764, according to asce.org, and is documented as the oldest two-span masonry bridge in the United States. The bridge is still in use, and you can often see both tourists and locals taking photos of this marvelous bridge with its great arches so perfectly placed hundreds of years ago over the Ipswich River.
Ipswich has a fascinating history besides the Choate Bridge. To learn more, go to historicipswich.net.
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