Sunday, April 10, 2016

Postcard: New Waldo-Hancock Bridge in Bucksport, Maine

This Chnor Quality Views postcard from the 1930s highlights the then-new Waldo-Hancock Bridge over the Penobscot River in Bucksport, Maine.

The bridge was constructed in 1931 for far less than its initially estimated cost [imagine that happening today], with the those lesser costs being covered by tolls from 1931 through 1953. Its then-innovative design, employing prestressed cables and a Vierendeel truss, helped to pave the way for some much more famous bridges — the Triborough Bridge and Golden Gate Bridge.

No infrastructure lasts forever, though, as we are becoming all too aware of here in the 21st century. The bridge was a sturdy path over the Penobscot from 1931 until about 2000, when it began to become clear that even emergency (and expensive) rehabilitation efforts would not be sufficient. A new bridge was needed. The Penobscot Narrows Bridge opened right alongside the Waldo-Hancock Bridge in 2006. The Waldo-Hancock was demolished between 2012 and 2013 for six times the original cost of the bridge itself (although, if adjusted for inflation, and if my math is right, the demolition cost was about half the original price tag of the bridge's construction).

Here's a Wikipedia before-and-after photograph of the Waldo-Hancock (left), before its demolition, alongside the Penobscot Narrows.

By Centpacrr (Composite digital image) - Original digital photographs by the uploader, Centpacrr (Bruce C. Cooper), CC BY-SA 3.0,

As for the back of this postcard, it was postmarked in July 1938 in Belfast, Maine, and mailed to Jack W. Shadel of Bellwood, Pennsylvania.

The cursive message, with its punctuation cleaned up, states:
Dear Jack & all
This is a toll bridge we went over. Beautiful around here. Leaving to-morrow. Will be in Extre [Exeter??] Thursday. You can write there 89 Water St., N.H. When are you going to Reading? I know you are having a grand time. Did you write to Auntie [illegible]? If not, do so. Well good-by from us and lots of love.
Mother & Dad

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