View of bridge from rail trail
In March 1936, the Connecticut River Valley was inundated by one of the most severe floods in recorded history. The water level reached over 12 feet above flood stage and carried huge chunks of ice down the river. The raging water and ice knocked out dams, washed away homes, and lifted bridges off their footings, including the bridge that connects Northampton to Hadley via Route 9.
This was and is a heavily traveled route so immediate reconstruction of the bridge was imperative. The Massachusetts Department of Public Works requested and received funds to rebuild the bridge from the federal government through the provisions of the Hayden Cartwright Act, which was a precursor to the Federal-Aid Highway Act. Construction began on the new bridge quickly in 1936. The bridge would later be named the Calvin Coolidge Bridge in honor of President Calvin Coolidge because he was considered a local celebrity since he went to school at Amherst College and then later moved to Northampton. It was completed and dedicated in 1939.
This bridge spans 1,441 feet across the Connecticut River and connects the towns of Hadley and Amherst to the city of Northampton. The bridge designers combined style and function by incorporating Art Deco elements in the bridge architecture. The commissioner of this bridge was William F. Callahan. Associate commissioners for the bridge were Frank E. Lyman, Frank L. Kane, Richard K. Hale, and Paul C. Ryan. The Chief Engineer was George H. Delano who was assisted by George E. Harkness as the Bridge Engineer. The companies used to build this bridge were Desmond & Lord Architects, W&L Engineering Company, and T. Stuart & Son Company Builders. The Governors at who approved the bridge at the time were James Curley, Charles Hurley, and Leverett Saltonstall.
“Calvin Coolidge Bridge." Waymarking. Last modified September 22, 2012. (accessed May 9, 2016).
Project originally submitted by Stana Wheeler on September 17, 2016.
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