HistoricBridges.org Menu: HistoricBridges.org Menu:

We Recommend These Resources:
Bach Steel - Experts at historic truss bridge restoration.

HistoricBridges.org: Bridge Browser

Summer Street Bridge

Summer Street Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth and Rick McOmber

Bridge Documented: July 12, 2008

View Photos
and Videos
View Maps
and Links

Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Summer Street Over Fort Point Channel
Boston: Suffolk County, Massachusetts: United States
Structure Type
Metal Deck Girder, Movable: Retractile and Approach Spans: Metal Deck Girder, Fixed
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1899 By Builder/Contractor: Berlin Iron Bridge Company of East Berlin, Connecticut

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Main Span Length
90 Feet (27.3 Meters)
Structure Length
502 Feet (153 Meters)
Roadway Width
32.2 Feet (9.81 Meters)
1 Main Span(s) and 4 Approach Span(s)
NBI Number

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
View Information About HSR Ratings

Bridge Documentation

View Archived National Bridge Inventory Report - Has Additional Details and Evaluation

View Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) Documentation For This Bridge

HAER Data Pages, PDF

View Massachusetts Historical Commission (MHC) Inventory Forms For This Historic Bridge

This bridge is one of only a handful of bridges in the country to display the retractile bridge design. In a retractile bridge, the bridge rolls back off of the waterway using a system of tracks and rollers. In the case of Summer Street, the bridge is a paired oblique double-leaf retractile bridge, which means that two sections of the bridge roll back at an angle away from the road and river on the same side of the river. The Summer Street Bridge is the only such example in the country known to survive today. The benefits and ease of constructing other movable bridge types meant that the retractile was never a popular movable bridge type. Although the bridge tender building and much of the machinery that allowed this bridge to operate is removed, this bridge remains today one of the most important movable bridges in the country, as an example of the rarest general movable bridge design (the other general designs being swing, bascule, and vertical lift). The key parts of the retractile design remain in place for historical interpretation, although it appears the overall superstructure which is largely hidden by the original, unaltered outermost set of girders, may be modern and non-historic. However, the tracks and rollers that this bridge would have rolled back on remain unaltered. In addition, the overhead bracing and stabilizing stays, which are called "Samson Posts" also remain.

This bridge is also significant as one of the final examples of the Berlin Iron Bridge Company (made famous by its patented lenticular truss bridges), before the company became a part of the American Bridge Company.


Photo Galleries and Videos: Summer Street Bridge

View Photo Gallery
Bridge Photo-Documentation
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
View Photo Gallery
Bridge Photo-Documentation
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


Maps and Links: Summer Street Bridge

Coordinates (Latitude, Longitude):

View Bridge Location In:

Bridgehunter.com: View listed bridges within a half mile of this bridge.

Bridgehunter.com: View listed bridges within 10 miles of this bridge.

Google Maps

Google Streetview (If Available)

Bing Maps


Apple Maps (Via DuckDuckGo Search)

Apple Maps (Apple devices only)


HERE We Go Maps

ACME Mapper

Waze Map

Android: Open Location In Your Map or GPS App

Flickr Gallery (Find Nearby Photos)

Wikimedia Commons (Find Nearby Photos)

Directions Via Sygic For Android

Directions Via Sygic For iOS and Android Dolphin Browser

USGS National Map (United States Only)

Historical USGS Topo Maps (United States Only)

CalTopo Maps (United States Only)

Home Top


About - Contact

© Copyright 2003-2021, 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.

Admin Login