Most of the bridges that I photographed were on side roads or out of the way places. There were usually only a few homes nearby, if any. The Mechanic Street Bridge is located in a busy residential neighborhood.
The bridge spans Israel’s River. The river provided water power for local mills. As the mills and the town grew, a bridge built in the 1780s quickly became inadequate.
This bridge was constructed in 1862 to replace the original bridge. An interpretive plaque on the bridge said that this bridge allowed horses and carriages to cross at a faster speed, but the State’s history said that in that same year, the citizens voted to put signs on the bridge prohibiting driving across the bridge at a pace faster than a walk. So did people get to go faster on the new bridge, or not?
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.