Central Bridge

centralbridgeTwo bound volumes with lettering in gold on the cover reads ” City of Fitchburg to City of Lawrence”. The seal of the City of Fitchburg is embossed in the middle of the cover. The spine has the date 1905 on one and 1906 on the other. Squares of paper have been pasted over more gold lettering. These paper labels read “Central Bridge Lawrence vol. 1” and “vol. 2.”

The inside of each book has been used as a scrapbook. Newspaper clippings cover the printed pages with the exception of the last 123 pages in the 2nd volume. The first volume has a bookplate for Arthur DeMerick Marble, the city engineer during the early years of the twentieth century. There are numerous hand written notes throughout both volumes. At the end of the first volume there are two pages of charts printed on blueprint paper. In the middle of the second volume there is a type written letter from the City Clerk to the City Council dated September 27, 1916.

The Central Bridge is a reinforced concrete structure, 1,500 feet long and 80 feet wide across the Merrimack River connecting Amesbury Street and Parker Street. Extending the bridge over the north and south canals increases the span to 1,750 feet. At the time, provision was made for two electric railway tracks. On January 23, 1911, Mayor John T. Cahill appointed a commission to oversee the construction of the bridge. The commission was composed of John L. Donavan, Chairman, John O. Battershill, secretary, Joseph 1. Flynn, John A. Brackett, and Otto Parthum with City Solicitor, Daniel J. Murphy, as counsel. Benjamin H. Davis of New York was chosen as the engineer. Excavation began October 1, 1914. The main structure was completed March 20, 1918. A year later the bridges over the canals were completed under direction of the City Council from plans drawn by B. H. Davis, one of the engineers under contract for the Central Bridge Contract.

The Essex Company was obliged by its charter to build and maintain sufficient bridges over the canals to connect with the new roadways.  A compromise was struck between the city and the Essex Company whereby the Essex Company contribute $40,00 toward the construction of the canal bridges upon the condition that the city would build the bridges over the canals and then release the company from the continued maintenance of the bridges. This agreement was ratified by the state legislature in 1917. Total cost of the project was nearly $1,400,000.

The Central Bridge still stands. Later the bridge was renamed in honor of Joseph W. Casey, a hero of the First World War.  The structure connects Amesbury Street in North Lawrence with Parker Street in South Lawrence.

2 Responses

  1. […] River Bridges: O’Leary Bridge (Broadway Bridge) Casey Bridge (Central Bridge) O’Reilly Bridge (I-495 Bridge) Sirois Bridge (I-93 Bridge) Union Street […]

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