Mt. Orne Bridge – Lancaster, NH and Lunenburg, VT

Back in the 1860s or 1870s, this area needed a bridge to connect the two towns.  An enterprising company called “The Union Bridge Company” built and operated it until 1908 when a log jam destroyed the bridge.  A ferry then operated for three years until a new bridge could be built.

The towns on either side of the “new” bridge each contributed $2,500 for the cost.  The state’s history says that another $1,678 was “raised by subscription”.  I’m not sure if that means people contributed to the bridge and if there was any additional benefit to them beside not having to use a ferry service.

In 1969, a truck loaded with highway salt fell through the floor of the bridge.  The rear of the truck rested on the ice and the front was caught on a piece of the bridge.  Meanwhile, salt spilled out of the truck, weakening the ice below.

They had to raise the truck to disengage it from the bridge and then lower it carefully onto the now weakened ice.  (How it avoided going to the bottom of the river, I’ll never know.)  It was dragged off the weak part of the ice, turned upright and then taken off the ice. 

In more recent times, it’s had difficulties (plural) when GPS directs truck drivers across it.  I included this image from The Caledonian Record website. 

31 thoughts on “Mt. Orne Bridge – Lancaster, NH and Lunenburg, VT

    1. milfordstreet Post author

      I cannot imagine what it took to get that truck out. Part of the problem would have been the weight and height of the wreckers. I searched for photos of it and that’s how I found the more recent images.

      Reply
    1. milfordstreet Post author

      Yes, that photo gives you that sense but I actually got a few good images inside without being scared. The scary ones are those that are narrow and have a lot of traffic.

      Reply
  1. Footprints

    The story of the truck falling through is very thought provoking. The bridge is beautiful, but the stories you add make them seem so real for those of us far away. I have seen trucks in similar situations as the last driver… Probably not their best day. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    1. milfordstreet Post author

      Thank you, Andi. I never thoiught I’d find such stories researching the bridges. At first, I reported just the facts (age, cost, design) but the stories help bring them to life. I can’t imagine being the driver. We’ve all had GPS steer us the wrong way once or twice.

      Reply
  2. Sandra

    What a dramatic save! I was certain this was going to be a sad story but wow, they rescued the truck and the driver! I wonder if it inspired him to change careers or if he stuck with it. Wild story. Gorgeous bridge! I love that the two states worked together on the build. Great post Chris! Thank you

    Reply
    1. milfordstreet Post author

      Thank you, Sandra. I enjoyed the story as well. I can’t imagine being the driver and going through the floor of the bridge. It’s nice to see communities jon together to accomplish something. Take care.

      Reply
  3. Prior...

    What a. Cool piece of history – and chilling (pun intended) that the truck did not sink into the weakened ice.
    Also – the way they split the costs and then reside money via subscriptions reminds me how clever and creative people can be when they need to…
    reminds me a little of the Eiffel Tower story – and how gustav raised money and made it happen then used a fee and paid it off in first year (something like that)

    Reply
    1. milfordstreet Post author

      The bridge does have an interesting history. I vaguely remember something about the raising of funds from the Eiffel Tower. Yes, there are other ways to finance things.

      Reply

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