Taylor Falls Wooden Bridge
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.
Ferry Boat across Merrimack
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.
Twin Span Bridge C 1975
The challenge of crossing the river between the communities of Hudson and Nashua has been a re-occurring one since the beginning of our town’s history. The twin span bridge shown in this C 1975 photo, is the result of such a challenge which began in the early 1960’s and extended for a decade or more. This photo was taken from the Hudson side at Ferry Street. These spans, constructed at separate times, now provide for traffic between the communities of Hudson and Nashua.
First to be completed was The Veteran’s Memorial Bridge (northern span). This span was constructed along side and parallel to the aging concrete Taylor Falls Bridge. Following 15 months of construction this span was opened in September 1970. Emergency repairs had been necessary to “shore-up” the deteriorating Taylor Falls Bridge; load limits and height restrictions were imposed to postpone its demise. State officials made the decision to permanently close the old bridge once the new span opened in September 1970. This set the stage for the construction of the southern span shown in this photo.The old bridge was demolished in the spring of 1973 and The Taylor Falls Replacement bridge opened in December 1974.
As necessary as these bridges were, their construction and the access roads required for their use completely eliminated the general business area which had developed at the bridge near Central and Ferry Streets. Photo from the Historical Society collection.
Built in 1909, this concrete Taylor Falls Bridge was replaced in 1970 by the Veterans Memorial Bridge. A second span, the Taylor Falls Replacement Bridge was then added in 1974. The 20th Century Store, Sports Car Village, and many other businesses were demolished to make way for access roads and routes to and from these bridges. Photo from the Historical Society. (Published in HLN September 5, 2014.)
Traveling from Nashua into Hudson on the original Sagamore Bridge in southern Hudsonc1976. Lowell Road, once a series of farms growing a variety of produce in large fertile fields was being transformed to commercial and industrial use. Opposite the bridge on Lowell Road is part of the Benton Morgan Farm. Photo from the Historical Society Collection. (Published in the HLN August 1, 2014.)