Built by the American Bridge Company in 1928 as a means to usher traffic on the Teddy Roosevelt Trail, and later US 302, the Pierce Bridge in Bethlehem, New Hampshire is a historic steel truss bridge that spans across the Ammonoosuc River. After devastating floods in 1927, new bridges needed to be quickly constructed to get travelers to the White Mountains, which was as much as a tourist destination then as it is today. One of the bridges constructed was the Pierce Bridge, a 140 foot long bridge in the design of high truss bridges with its vertical members in compression and diagonal beams in tension. It was said that this style of bridge was easy to construct and had been proven to be strong and sturdy.
After the Pierce Bridge was constructed, it became a destination for travelers, for people who wanted to fish the Ammoonoosuc River for its trout and for Civilian Conversation Corps (CCC) workers who worked in the area during the Great Depression. For a few years, there was a CCC camp known as Gale River Camp No. 2118 that was located near the Pierce Bridge starting in 1933. The CCC workers that worked around Pierce Bridge built bridges along the Ammonoosuc and Zealand Rivers, truck trails and also hiking trails up Mount Washington. So it can be said that the Pierce Bridge played a small, yet significant role in American history and progress.
By the time 1983 rolled around, the Pierce Bridge was bypassed by a new bridge on US 302 to help meet modern traffic demands. However, the old Pierce Bridge remains next to the new bridge. It is no longer open for vehicular traffic, but pedestrians are welcome to explore the old bridge and view the surroundings.
How to Get There:
Sources and Links:
Bridgehunter.com - Pierce Bridge
North Country Scenic Byways - River Heritage Trail
Bethlehem Heritage Society - CCC Camp #2118 at Pierce Bridge
Wanderlust Family Adventure - Pierce Bridge Historic Marker – Bethlehem, New Hampshire
BustedOarLock.com - Ammonoosuc River New Hampshire Flows, Fishing and Paddling
Theodore Roosevelt Center at Dickinson State University - Theodore Roosevelt International Highway