This bridge is one of two known Post truss bridges in the country: both are in Worcester County: the other is the Ponakin Bridge. The Atherton Bridge is also significant as a bridge displaying Phoenix columns for diagonal members on the bridge. The Post truss is an unusual application of this rare form of built-up beam.
This bridge was the first iron bridge in Lancaster. Indeed, with an 1870 construction date, it is among the oldest metal bridges in the country.
The bridge retains excellent historic integrity, with no alterations noted aside from a single replaced column, remarkable considering its ancient age. However, structurally there are some signs that the bridge is in need of restoration. For example, a couple of the diagonal members have slipped out of its top chord connection, and are offset. HAER mentions that the northeast endpost went missing too.
HAER thoroughly documents the unusual design, history, and details of this bridge. Be sure to look to their documentation for a complete history of the bridge.
Given a relatively higher attention given to historic bridge preservation in Massachusetts (and several other northeastern USA states) than is seen in the country as a whole, one would seem to expect to see this extremely rare Post truss restored. However, this bridge has just been abandoned, which is obviously better than the demolition that this bridge might have received had it been located in another state, yet a bridge this rare deserves so much more than abandonment. This bridge should be either restored in place or relocated and restored for pedestrian use. Any restoration of the bridge should be undertaken with the greatest care to retain all original material possible, and any replaced material must be exactly replicated, right down to the rivets on the bridge.
This bridge is tagged with the following special condition(s): Phoenix Columns
Original / Full Size Photos
|A collection of overview and detail photos. This gallery offers photos in the highest available resolution and file size in a touch-friendly popup viewer. Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer|
Mobile Optimized Photos
|A collection of overview and detail photos. This gallery features data-friendly, fast-loading photos in a touch-friendly popup viewer. Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer|
Coordinates (Latitude, Longitude):
View Bridge Location In:
© Copyright 2003-2020, HistoricBridges.org. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer: HistoricBridges.org is a volunteer group of private citizens. HistoricBridges.org is NOT a government agency, does not represent or work with any governmental agencies, nor is it in any way associated with any government agency or any non-profit organization. While we strive for accuracy in our factual content, HistoricBridges.org offers no guarantee of accuracy. Information is provided "as is" without warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied. Information could include technical inaccuracies or errors of omission. Opinions and commentary are the opinions of the respective HistoricBridges.org member who made them and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone else, including any outside photographers whose images may appear on the page in which the commentary appears. HistoricBridges.org does not bear any responsibility for any consequences resulting from the use of this or any other HistoricBridges.org information. Owners and users of bridges have the responsibility of correctly following all applicable laws, rules, and regulations, regardless of any HistoricBridges.org information.