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The Early Bridges

Odds and Ends From The MUSEUM!


            Millinocket, built along side a flowing stream, has seen several bridges and replacements through the years. One bridge, on Central Street, was constructed to connect the growing town to Medway and towns beyond. The town petitioned the Penobscot County Commissioners (1901) to “lay out a road which would connect with Medway and Mattawamkeag.” An iron bridge with stone abutments was built on the low land near the stream in the area that became known as “The Flats.” Beyond the bridge, a new road was constructed following the old tote road to Medway. The town’s first dump was located near this bridge.

            In the early 1920’s, the Chamber of Commerce and other citizens formed a committee to draft an article for a town warrant. The article was to ask for a foot-bridge to be added to the Central Street bridge. The reasoning behind the request was that one woman some months previously had been injured so badly by an automobile that she never recovered and many others had had narrow escapes.” (The Millinocket Journal 1921-28)

By 1927, the original Central Street bridge was replaced with a new one. Houses were being built on “The Flats” as far north as the current bridge near Stearns HS and better access was needed for those residents. Water Street was added at this time.  The old “pest house” located in that area during the earlier epidemics was no longer in use. It was renovated and became a family home. Also, there was more automobile traffic in and out of town as more people were driving their own cars so the Central Street Bridge was important for the town’s growth.

            Near the mill and Little Italy early on there were some simple footbridges across the stream for access to and from the mill. In 1937, GNP “did away with the old bridge to Little Italy and built a steel span across the Millinocket Stream at the foot of Cherry Street.” (Laverty book) There is no information about the bridge that was replaced in 1937.

            This Cherry Street bridge was important as the town expanded after WWII. A new housing area opened on Eastland Avenue/Maple Street and the Cherry Street bridge gave more access to those homes as well as those near the cemetery (East Avenue, High Street, South Street).

            There are additional bridges in town, but have been unable to locate information about when they were constructed. Anyone with information or photos, please contact us at the museum.

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