Ashland Mill Bridge

Jewett City, Griswold, Connecticut

North side of bridge In park on Ashland Street over Pachaug River Listed on the National Register of Historic Places

Berlin bridges were popular not only with town highway officials but also with mill owners, who needed to provide well-built crossings for employees and for moving materials around the millyard. This bridge was one of two purchased by the Ashland Cotton Company, a large textile manufacturer, following the disastrous flood of February 1886, which destroyed dozens of bridges throughout eastern Connecticut. One of the few survivors of the flood was an earlier Berlin bridge that had been built in Jewett City in 1879, so perhaps that impressed the Ashland mill's managers. J. O. Sweet, the company's agent and treasurer, even wrote a testimonial for Berlin Iron Bridge's 1889 catalog:

The two bridges made by you, of iron, are in place. . . . I am very much pleased with them, and am satisfied that they are constructed on the right principle and are destined to be the bridge of the future.

This four-panel lenticular truss is typical of the Berlin Iron Bridge Company's small spans. It is especially notable because it retains so much of its original material, including not only the trusses but also its tapered floor beams, iron-rod railings, and wooden deck. The Ashland mill and millyard are now gone: the area was turned into a public park a few years ago following the demolition of the fire-damaged manufacturing complex. Because the bridge's deck is so deteriorated, it is now closed to all traffic, and a modern footbridge has been built nearby to take its place.


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