CT's Historic Masonry Arches

(click on images for larger view)

Hartford Railroad Tunnel,
Bridge No. 979

Main Street and Albany Avenue (Route44) over Amtrak
Brick arch
Length: 300'
Built in 1871
Roadside view of Hartford Railroad TunnelChaos and mayhem were the order of the day before Hartford's double-arched railroad tunnel was built. Wagons, carriages, horse-drawn streetcars and pedestrians had to wait for (or dodge) between 40 and 50 trains a day at this location, where two major rail lines crossed two of Hartford's busiest streets at grade. Finally, the railroads built the tunnel so that trains could run beneath the city streets.

The tunnel's four-track width and 300'Elegant detailing on bridge length made it a substantial engineering work for the time. The New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad designed and built the tunnel, with a smaller share of the cost borne by the Hartford, Providence and Fishkill Railroad. Its smoothly finished brownstone ashlar facing (the interior of the tunnel has brick arches), elaborate moldings and pilasters, and prominent datestones show that the railroads intended the tunnel to be an elegant work of architecture. A remnant of original Victorian iron railing survives above the Albany Avenue portal.

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