Lower Rollstone Street Bridge, Spanning Nashua River on Rollstone Street, Fitchburg, Worcester County, MA
Photo Caption Pages
Spanning Nashua River on Rollstone Street, Fitchburg, MA
Find maps of Fitchburg, MA
Documentation compiled after 1968.
Survey number HAER MA-102
Unprocessed field note material exists for this structure (FN-21).
Building/structure dates: 1870 initial construction
Significance: The (Lower) Rollstone Street Bridge is one of only five known surviving Parker patent trusses in the United States, and the oldest of the three located in Massachusetts. It is also one of the two oldest known metal truss bridges in the state. The design is based on Charles Parker's 1870 patent for a truss bridge that was capable of being altered in length without changing the general proportion of the truss in other respects. The bridge incorporates most of the features claimed in Parker's patent, and is a very early example of this significant bridge type, which was one of the first to allow mass-production of interchangeable parts, and illustrates the spread of iron bridge technology from railroads to highways. The bridge fabricator, National Bridge & Iron Works, was a significant New England bridge-building company in the late-nineteenth century.
National Bridge & Iron Works
Historic American Engineering Record (Library of Congress)
1. General view from upper roadway, looking northeast
2. General view from upper roadway, looking south
3. Detail of east upper chord from north portal, showing cast iron skewbacks and ornamental bollards, looking southeast
4. Detail of west upper chord from roadway, showing truss geometry and connections (railing of lower bridge was originally located on the outer side of the truss), looking north
5. Detail of west truss from upper bridge, looking downward and southeast
6. Detail of west truss from upper bridge, showing truss geometry, looking downward and northeast
7. Detail of southwest corner of span from upper bridge, showing upper chord rivets and castings, looking downward and southeast
8. General view of truss geometry at center of span from lower parking lot, looking northwest
9. East elevation of span from lower parking lot, looking northwest
10. Detail of upper chord connection with both rivets and nuts, looking northeast from deck
11. Detail of upper chord connection with rivets only, looking east from deck
Back to Fitchburg, Massachusetts