03 November, 2007

Old North Bridge, Concord, MA Postcard

Easier for me this time to gather information regarding the bridge because it is a famous one. The front of the card says:

OLD NORTH BRIDGE. Here took place about noon, April 19th, 1775, the principal engagement in Concord, the British being repulsed and retreating in great disorder. Across the bridge the statue of the "Concord Minute Man."

Old North Bridge Postcard

The North Bridge, often colloquially called the Old North Bridge, across the Concord River in Concord, Massachusetts is a historical site in the Battle of Lexington and Concord, the first battle day in the Revolutionary War. Here five full companies of Minutemen and five of non-Minuteman militia occupied this hill with groups of other men streaming in, totaling about 400 against the British light infantry companies from the 4th, 10th, and 43rd Regiments of Foot under Captain Laurie, a force totaling about 90-95 men.

The bridge whose timbers reverberated with the famous "shot heard 'round the world" was constructed in 1760; one of a series of bridges that occupied the site since the 1630's. (The first documented bridge was built ca. 1654 though it is widely held that a bridge was located at, or near, the present site shortly after 1635, the year of incorporation of the Town of Concord.) The bridge of 1760 was replaced in 1788 only to be dismantled in 1793 when the river crossing was moved upstream. From 1793 to 1874 no bridge existed at this historic site.

In 1874, construction began on a new bridge to be ready in time for the centennial celebrations of the following year. Floods destroyed this bridge in 1888. A new bridge was constructed in 1889 only to be destroyed once again by floods in 1908. In an effort to create a sturdier bridge, engineers and architects designed the next bridge in concrete using as their model the original drawings by Amos Doolittle prepared shortly after the battle in 1775. Nature once again proved more powerful and in 1955, damage from Hurricane Diane left the bridge beyond repair. The current bridge was built in 1956 by the State of Massachusetts, based on drawings of the original bridge, built in the 1760s.

At this site also stands Daniel Chester French's well-known Minute Man Statue of 1875. This famous statue by artist Daniel Chester French, among whose later works include the seated Abraham Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C.,was dedicated on April 19, 1875 as part of the Centennial celebrations. The statue was cast in bronze from ten condemned cannon supplied by the United States Congress.

SOURCES:
Old North Bridge Wikipedia Entry
North Bridge Restoration Project

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