Atherton Bridge

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Atherton Bridge
Atherton Bridge.jpg
Atherton Bridge, 1979, by Jet Lowe
Atherton Bridge is located in Massachusetts
Atherton Bridge
Atherton Bridge is located in the US
Atherton Bridge
Location Lancaster, Massachusetts
Coordinates 42°26′40″N 71°40′21″W / 42.44444°N 71.67250°W / 42.44444; -71.67250Coordinates: 42°26′40″N 71°40′21″W / 42.44444°N 71.67250°W / 42.44444; -71.67250
Built 1870
Architect Unknown
Architectural style Other
NRHP Reference # 79000377 [1]
Added to NRHP September 19, 1979

The Atherton Bridge is a historic iron truss bridge in Lancaster, Massachusetts, spanning the South Branch of the Nashua River. It is a rare example of a hybrid pony truss that is similar to the 19th century truss design of Simeon S. Post. It was built by J.H. Cofrode & Co. of Philadelphia in 1870. It was the first iron bridge to be constructed in the town.[2] The bridge was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.

The bridge formerly carried Bolton Road, but was closed to vehicular traffic in 1975 and bypassed by a modern highway bridge in the 1980s. It is still open to pedestrian traffic via a loop path from Bolton Road.

Technical information[edit]

The Atherton Bridge has iron compression posts that incline inward towards the center of the span and diagonal tension rods that incline outward towards the abutments. Unusual features include double end posts with adjustable turnbuckles, channeled castings to join the lower chord bars, and patented "Phoenix" columns[3] for all inclined posts. This bridge does not make use of Simeon Post's patented joints. The floor beams support a wood plank deck.

The bridge is 72 feet (22 m) long and 18.5 feet (5.6 m) feet wide, and is composed of eight panels. It rests on granite abutments.

The bridge was photographed in 1979 by Jet Lowe of the Historic American Engineering Record, and documented in 1990 as part of the Massachusetts Historic Bridge Project.[2] At that time, it was one of only two known examples of the Post type of truss still surviving.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ National Park Service (2008-04-15). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ a b Historic American Engineering Record
  3. ^ Patented by the Phoenix Iron company of Pennsylvania
  4. ^ "NRHP nomination for Atherton Bridge". Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Retrieved 2015-10-01.