One Postcard Saturdays: Charlestown Bridge in Boston

Timing is everything!

Much to my surprise today, when I randomly picked my featured postcard, I learned that in less than two weeks demolition will begin on the historic Charlestown Bridge. It is also known as the North Washington Street Bridge located in Boston, Massachusetts.

This very rare steel, swing drawbridge (center pier) structure was built between 1898-1900 by the Boston Transit Commission. Their Chief Engineer was William Jackson (1848-1910) and it was constructed by the Pennsylvania Steel Company, of Steelton, PA.

Several years ago, I developed a greater appreciation for the various types of bridges that are constructed. One of my children had an extensive segment in school learning about bridge history with all the different types and specific designs so they could learn to recognize such differences–the assignments included projects such as detailed drawings. Before that point, I really had little realization of such wide differences in bridges.

Bridge Details-

The Charlestown Bridge was 100-foot wide and about 1000-feet long. Being located on North Washington Street and going over the Charles River it connected the historic Boston neighborhoods of Charlestown and the North End.

This double-decked bridge was designed to carry the Charlestown Elevated Railway, as well as, vehicle traffic. There was an overhead structure built on the center lane of the bridge for the Elevated mainline tracks, with the lower deck for two 28-foot carriageways on either side of a 22-foot right-of-way for electric streetcars.

The draw span was about 240-foot in length and consisted of four pin-connected trusses. The turntable motors of this bridge were electrically operated and took about two minutes to open or close the span. The draw was last used in 1956 and was permanently closed in 1961.

The Elevated and surface tracks were eliminated on the bridge in 1975.

In August of 2018, construction began on a replacement bridge and is expected to continue until Spring of 2023.

A temporary bridge has been installed and will be used starting in less than a week, on July 17th, until the permanent one is ready. Sadly, demolition of the old historic bridge is set to begin on July 20th.

The new bridge being constructed is being called a “street over water” and it will include: two vehicle lanes in each direction; one inbound bus lane; cycle tracks in each direction; and sidewalks on both sides with an overlook and seating area.

Postmark Info-

My actual featured postcard, with message shown below, was postmarked from Franklin, Mass., and was sent to Mrs. Henrietta J. Hooper (1861-1943), in Plainville, Mass. If you would like to learn more about Aunt Etta, please see my previous blog post: Intro to Aunt Etta And Her Great Adventures.

Postcard Message-

As best that I can make out, the message reads as follows:

Dear Etta, Hope you area feeling well. Am sorry I got so behind with the papers (?) but since inspection was over I have been cleaning house and for the last two days have been in the attic. I get so tired by night I can’t write or do much of anything but go to bed. All you can do is to scold me when you see me. It seemed like old times to see Mrs. Stewart and Mrs. Wood at the Corps meeting. Don’t work any harder than you have to. Goodbye with love, Winnie

One of the organizations that Aunt Etta belonged to was the Women’s Relief Corps (WRC), which was the Auxiliary to the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR). So, I am assuming that is the Corps meeting referred to by the postcard sender. There are other postcards in Aunt Etta’s collection signed by Mrs. Stewart so I recognize that name but I don’t recall seeing a Mrs. Wood at the moment.

Postcard Publisher-

This postcard was published by the Tichnor Brothers, Inc. (1908-1987), Cambridge, Mass. They published a wide variety of postcard types.

If you are new to my blog, my posting today is part of a series I call “One Postcard Saturdays” where I feature a postcard that usually has some type of landmark picture. In turn, I explore the landmark with a little research and try to give a few details about it.

Until next time…

 

Reference Sources:

Webpages

Commonwealth of Massachusetts. North Washington Street Bridge Replacement, mass.gov/north-washington-street-bridge-replacement. Accessed 11 July 2020.

Historic Bridges. North Washington Street Bridge; Charlestown Bridge, historicbridges.org. Accessed 11 July 2020.

Metropostcard. Publishers, metropostcard.com/publisherst.html. Accessed 11 July 2020.

Wikipedia. Charlestown Bridge, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlestown_Bridge. Accessed 11 July 2020.

 

One Postcard Saturdays: Worcester Market

My series, One Postcard Saturdays, ran for a few weeks last year when I focused on providing background highlights on the subject pictured on each postcard. Once again, while sorting through some of my family collection, I have set aside a few postcards to feature another round of this series.

Not to be forgotten, I will at some point in the near future complete my three-part series based on old-time Radio Actress Bess Johnson. If you would like to read the first part of that series, please see my previous posting: Radio Star Bess Johnson: Fan Letter.

My featured postcard this time around is of the Worcester Market, in Worcester, Massachusetts. It was published by Henry Freeman & Co., in Worcester, Mass.

The City of Worcester occupies an area of about eight-square miles and is located midway between Boston and Springfield.

In the early 1900’s, Worcester’s commerce was centered around Main Street, between Lincoln Square and the Common.

The last period of growth for Worcester happened during the time frame of 1891 to 1930 when corporate enterprise became a major influence on the commercial district. In early times, there were smaller row buildings and they were replaced by larger office buildings.

Thought to be the largest grocery supply building in the nation, the Worcester Market was built in 1914. It handled all aspects of food retailing–replacing many of the city’s small suppliers.

The Worcester Market Building still exists in the present time as leased office space. It is located at 627 Main Street. It was designed by architect Oreste Ziroli.

This building was part of approximately 1,200 buildings that were researched in great detail between March 1977 and March 1978 for the submission of the nomination form to the National Register. The area was listed on March 5, 1980 as the Worcester Multiple Resource Area, National Register of Historic Places Inventory; US Dept. of the Interior, National Park Service.

Originally, there was a building located next door to the Worcester Market that is shown on the top left portion of the postcard and this was the Worcester Royal Hotel which no longer exists.

This featured postcard was postmarked on October 30, 1916 from Worcester, Mass., and was sent to Aunt Etta’s husband William Thomas Hooper (born 1860). They were living in Franklin, Mass., at that time. William was a son of Ephraim (1813-1885) and Isabella (Giddings) Hooper who were the parents of eight children.

William Hooper married Henrietta Jane James (Aunt Etta) on July 10, 1878.

The postcard was sent by William’s sister Sarah. She was born about 1856 and died on August 15, 1927, in Worcester, Mass.

Sarah’s message: Dear Brother and Sister. Got home all right. Will write soon. With love, Sarah

Sarah was married to Stinson William Hodgdon (1853-1930). “Stin” was one of nine children born to: Mary P. (Hurmant) (1831-1888) and David Stinson Hodgdon (1831-1894). David and Mary were married in 1852 in Wiscasset, Maine.

Stin and Sarah resided in Worcester for many years. There are many other postcard correspondence from them in Aunt Etta’s collection, some of them being real photo postcards taken by Stin. Hopefully, I will be able share more of them in future postings.

There is still more research to be done on the Hooper branch; however, if you would like to learn a bit more you might check out my previous blog posting: Don’t Jump Too Fast To Conclusions.

To learn more about Aunt Etta, you might like to read my previous posting: Intro to Aunt Etta And Her Great Adventures.

Until next time…

Reference Source:

Website: npgallery.nps.gov; Accessed 02 May 2020.