Essex-Merrimac Bridge, Spanning Merrimack River between Newburyport & Dee, Amesbury, Essex County, MA
Photo Caption Pages
Spanning Merrimack River between Newburyport & Dee, Amesbury, MA
Find maps of Amesbury, MA
Documentation compiled after 1968.
Survey number HAER MA-93
Unprocessed field note material exists for this structure (FN-14).
Building/structure dates: 1910 initial construction
Part of building/structure is in Newburyport, Essex County, MA.
Significance: The Essex-Merrimac Bridge is a 225-foot, single-span suspension bridge, which crosses the Merrimac River at the site of a previous Palladian, arched timber truss (1792-1810) built by Timothy Palmer, and a wrought-iron chain suspension bridge (1810-1909) designed by James Finley and built by John Templeman. The fame of the current bridge rests largely on the accomplishments of these earlier bridge builders, rather than its own engineering merits. Even so, at its time of construction in 1909, the Essex-Merrimac Bridge incorporated the most up-to-date technology. George F. Swain, the bridge's designer, was a nationally-recognized structural engineer and educator. According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Works Historic Bridge Inventory, the Essex-Merrimac Bridge is Massachusetts' only highway suspension bridge.
Swain, George F.
Historic American Engineering Record (Library of Congress)
1. General view of bridge from north river bank, looking west
2. General view of bridge from north river bank, looking west
3. Closeup view of south tower, looking southwest
4. Elevation of south tower from roadway, looking north
5. General view from center of span, looking north
6. Elevation of north tower from roadway, looking south
7. Elevation of north tower from roadway, looking south
8. Detail, showing cable ties to anchorage at northeast corner
9. North tower from river bank, looking northwest
10. Detail, showing subdeck bracing and suspender connections at northeast corner
11. Detail, showing single truss panel at northeast corner
12. Oblique view from below deck, looking south
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