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Summer Street Retractile Bridge, Spanning Fort Point Channel at Summer Street, Boston, Suffolk County, MA



B&W Photos

HB551776
Summer Street Bridge

HB551777
Draw Span Of Summer Street Bridge


Data Pages


Photo Caption Pages


Item Title


Location
Spanning Fort Point Channel at Summer Street, Boston, MA

Find maps of Boston, MA


Created/Published
Documentation compiled after 1968.

Notes
Survey number HAER MA-41
Building/structure dates: 1899 initial construction
Building/structure dates: 1918 subsequent work
Building/structure dates: 1931 subsequent work
Building/structure dates: 1954 subsequent work
Building/structure dates: 1969 subsequent work
Building/structure dates: 1990 subsequent work
Significance: The Summer St. bridge is a rare movable type of bridge known as a retractile draw, in which the moving span is pulled diagonally away from the navigable channel on several sets of rails. Only four of these have been identified in the country, two of which are on Summer St. in Boston. The form is thought to have been invented by T. Willis Pratt in the 1860's. This bridge is a double retractile: parallel spans pull away from the center in opposite directions. Despite its deteriorating condition, the bridge is the center element of the rich Fort Point Channel Bridge District. / The Summer Street Retractile Bridge is the only known surviving electrically-operated, paired-leaf oblique retractile drawbridge. Despite its poor condition and loss of much of its operating equipment and auxiliary structures (gates, Tender's House, and pedestrian waiting shelters), several of the early components (superstructure, retractile rails, wheels, and operating machinery on the south side) remain. The Summer Street Retractile Bridge is one of five surviving movable bridges located in the proposed Fort Point Channel Historic District. It is one of eight known remaining nineteenth-century movable bridges in the Massachusetts Highway Department Historic Bridge Survey.

Subjects
Civil Engineering
Movable Bridges
Bridge Construction


Related Names
Jackson, William
Cheney, John E.
Stupich, Martin, Photographer
Lowe, Jet, Photographer
Stott, Peter, Historian


Collection
Historic American Engineering Record (Library of Congress)

Contents
Photograph caption(s): 
1. SUMMER STREET BRIDGE. DRAW SPAN MOVES TOWARD VIEWER ON TRACKS VISIBLE AT CENTER OF PHOTOGRAPH.
2. DRAW SPAN OF SUMMER STREET BRIDGE. WHEELS ARE VISIBLE BENEATH SPAN AT CENTER.


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