Two Cent Bridge

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Two Cent Bridge
TwocentbridgeME.jpg
View from the Waterville side of the bridge
Official name Ticonic Footbridge
Carries Pedestrians
Crosses Kennebec River
Locale Waterville/Winslow, Maine
Design suspension bridge
Width 6 feet (2 m)
Longest span 400 feet (122 m)
Opened 1903
Coordinates 44°33′03″N 69°37′34″W / 44.55086°N 69.62610°W / 44.55086; -69.62610Coordinates: 44°33′03″N 69°37′34″W / 44.55086°N 69.62610°W / 44.55086; -69.62610

The Ticonic Footbridge, usually called the Two Cent Bridge, is a suspension bridge that traverses the Kennebec River between the city of Waterville and the town of Winslow in Maine. It is one of the oldest surviving wire-cable steel suspension bridges and also is considered to be the last known extant toll footbridge in the United States.

History[edit]

The original footbridge was constructed in 1901. It was intended to give workers coming from Temple Street in Waterville easy access to the Hollingsworth & Whitney Company (later, the Scott Paper Company), factories located directly just across the Kennebec in Winslow. The original toll was one cent, which was collected at a booth on the Waterville side of the river. However, less than a year after its opening, on December 15, 1901, the bridge was washed away by high water levels.

The bridge was rebuilt in 1903. The second incarnation of the Ticonic proved to be sturdier, and continued to serve the local population for many years. The toll crossing rose from a penny to two cents — whence the bridge procured its most popular name. In 1960 the toll was abolished altogether, when the owners of the bridge gave it to the city of Waterville as a gift.

Preservation and restoration[edit]

The Two Cent Bridge was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. While considerable efforts have been undertaken to maintain the bridge, it has been closed at various points over the years when conditions have made foot crossings unsafe.

On July 4, 1989, the Two Cent Bridge suffered severe structural damage when hundreds of people attending a nearby concert converged on the footpath, straining the bridge's weight and tension limits. The bridge was immediately closed and stabilized; complete restoration took several years. The historic tollbooth was removed but was later restored and replaced at the bridge.

Currently, many civic organizations in the Waterville–Winslow area, including the local Rotary Club, dedicate funds to the bridge's upkeep.

References[edit]