In 1909, after the iron bridge was found to be unsafe, a committee involving knowledgeable people from Hudson, Nashua, and managers of the street railroad company began plans for a replacement bridge. At first the plan was to replace the bridge with either an iron or a steel bridge. After consideration, this plan was tabled in favor of far more substantial structure of reinforced concrete. By June 1910 there was a contract to erect a reinforced concrete bridge with sufficient strength for a 50 ton electric train. This bridge was to have five arches, four piers in the river, and an abutment on each end. The roadway was to be 30 feet with a 6 foot sidewalk on the north side. There were problems during construction, especially with one of the piers on the Nashua side. A final inspection was made and the bridge accepted in November 1912.
During it’s lifetime the traffic from the eletric cars dimished and ended. The old concete bridge survived the flood of 1936. Over the years, travel from autos increased in both weight and volume. That increased usage, plus the demands from the trucking industry took its toll on the bridge. Discussions regarding a new bridge began in the early 1960’s and reached a milestone in 1970 when the Veterans Memoial Bridge was opened to the public. Emergency repairs were made to the concrete bridge in order to ‘shore it up’ for use during the construction period. Once the north span of the new bridge was opened the old concrete bridge was permanently closed and within a few years was replaced with the new Taylor Falls Bridge (southern span). Photo from the collection of the Hudson Historical Society.
Once the decision was made to replace the wooden bridge a contract in the amount of $19,500 was awarded in 1881 for the construction of this Taylor Falls Iron Bridge between Hudson and Nashua. The iron bridge was built in the same location as and using the same abutments as the old wooden bridge but with an increased grade of 2 feet. In addition to the new bridge this contract included raising the grade, removal of the old wooden structure, and the stone work under the bridge. The contractor kept the materials from the old bridge. This bridge was open for public travel in November 1881. In the end, after Hudson received money from Nashua, Litchfield, and Londonderry, the actual cost of this iron bridge to the town was about $7,300.
For 14 years this bridge needed little maintenance except for new planking, painting, and tightening of the rods. In 1895 the bridge was strengthened and provided with new floor beams so as to allow for electric cars (trolleys) between Nashua and Hudson. These improvements were paid for by the electric car company.
By 1909 safety issues again developed. This time the issue was related to the increased weight and frequency of the electric cars; more than doubled when first allowed on the bridge. Engineering experts were called in to review the bridge and found it to be unsafe. Only 28 years after completion plans were underway to replace this bridge. This photo from the collection of the Hudson Historical Society was taken from the Hudson side pf the river.
Up until 1826 there was no bridge across the Merrimack River from as far south as Lowell and north as Manchester. Reacting to this need some of the more prominent men of Hudson and Nashua petitioned the State Legislation for a charter to build a bridge. The wooden bridge shown in this picture was built by the Proprietors of the Taylor Falls Bridge and opened as a bridge in 1827. The characteristics of this bridge are quite interesting. It was 509 feet long with a 16 foot roadway and no sidewalks. The abutments had one tier of faced stone on the outside, filled with loose stone, all laid dry with no cement. A few years after completion ice jams and water pressed so hard against the abutments that an ice break was erected in 1834 to buffer the bridge from this danger. This ice break remained in use until it was removed during construction of the Veterans Memorial Bridge. It continued as a toll bridge until about 1855 when the county laid out a public highway over the bridge and it became a toll free bridge.
At a town meeting in 1881 a committee was chosen to examine the bridge and consider what was best: repair or replace. The committee recommended replacement as soon as practical. After conferring with a similar committee from Nashua the decision was made to replace this wooden bridge. Photo from the Hudson Historical Society collection.
In the early history of our town, up until 1826, there were no bridges across the Merrimack River between Lowell and Manchester. River crossings between Hudson (then called Nottingham West) and Nashua were made by ferry boats similar to the one shown in this week’s photo. During these early years there were no less than three ferries operating between the two communities.
The earliest ferry was operated by Eleazor Cummings. His ferry left the east shore of the river a short distance north of the Veterans Memorial Bridge. It landed on the west side just south of the mouth of the Nashua River. Operation of this ferry continued until 1742, at which time Mr. Cummings relinquished his rights to another person who established Dutton’s Ferry just below the Taylor Falls Bridge.
A second ferry, called Hardy Ferry, operated from Lowell Road near the Hardy Farm. A Third ferry, Hills Ferry, was operated on Hills land just south of the town line into Litchfield. This was started by Nathaniel Hills and was continued by later generations of his family.
The first bridge between Nashua and Hudson was built in 1826. Even after it’s construction some of these ferries continued to operate. Photo from the Historical Society Collection.