Middlefield-Becket Stone Arch Railroad Bridge District

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Middlefield-Becket Stone Arch Railroad Bridge District
Bridge over West Branch of Westfield River near Middlefield Rd, Chester MA.jpg
Near Middlefield Road in Chester
Middlefield-Becket Stone Arch Railroad Bridge District is located in Massachusetts
Middlefield-Becket Stone Arch Railroad Bridge District
Nearest city Chester, Massachusetts
Coordinates 42°18′44″N 73°1′10″W / 42.31222°N 73.01944°W / 42.31222; -73.01944Coordinates: 42°18′44″N 73°1′10″W / 42.31222°N 73.01944°W / 42.31222; -73.01944
Built 1840
Architect George Washington Whistler
Architectural style No Style Listed
Governing body Private
NRHP Reference #

80000502

[1]
Added to NRHP April 11, 1980

The Middlefield-Becket Stone Arch Railroad Bridge District is a historic district extending through parts of the towns of Chester, Middlefield, and Becket, Massachusetts.[2] The district encompasses a 3.7-mile (6.0 km) stretch of railroad right of way in which there are ten bridge crossings of the west branch of the Westfield River. The bridges were built in four time periods: 1840, 1866, 1912, and 1928. Nine of the ten bridges are stone or concrete masonry work, and one is a truss girder bridge. All are, with only minor exceptions, in excellent and original condition. The bridges were built to carry the Western Railroad through on its run from the Connecticut River to the Hudson River. This section of railroad was the most expensive the company had to build, costing over $1 million in 1840.[3]

The 1840 bridges were designed by George Washington Whistler, and constructed by the firm of Alexander Birney. Of the original nine stone bridge built, one three survive, of which two are still in service. Some of these bridge were either demolished or encased in concrete during work performed in 1912 and 1927. One of the listed bridge was built of concrete in 1912, adjacent to one of the 1840 stone bridges that was taken out of service. The one steel truss bridge was built in 1912 by the Pennsylvania Steel Company.[3] The district was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.[1]

Bridge list[edit]

Unless otherwise noted, all bridges were in service at the time of the National Register listing (1980), and crossed the West Branch Westfield River.

# Conrail
Bridge #
Year built Location Description
1 128.21 1866 Double-span stone arch
2 128.44 1912 Steel deck girder
3 out of service 1840-41 Stone arch bridge; taken out of service in 1912
4 129.28 1913 Concrete arch
5 out of service 1840-41 Stone arch
6 out of service 1840-41 Stone arch
7 130.10 1912 Concrete arch
8 130.46 1866/1912 Stone/concrete arch; crosses Factory Brook and Town Hill Road
9 131.50 1928 Concrete arch
10 131.70 1928 Concrete arch

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2008-04-15. 
  2. ^ Keystone Arches Website
  3. ^ a b "NRHP nomination for Middlefield-Becket Stone Arch Railroad Bridge District". Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Retrieved 2013-11-30. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Brown, Jeff L. (January 2014). "Rock Solid: Stone Arch Bridges of the 1840s". Civil Engineering (Reston, VA: American Society of Civil Engineers): 44–47. ISSN 0885-7024. 

External links[edit]