The Bridges of Acadia National Park...Mount Desert Island, Maine
Acadia National Park, located principally on Mount Desert Island (MDI) in Maine, is a 35,000 acre national treasure consisting of mountains, lakes, ocean and forest. If you have not had the chance to visit, I strongly urge you to make it a vacation destination that you will never forget.
During the turn of the century, MDI and its villages of Bar Harbor, Seal Harbor and Northeast Harbor, became the summer play land of the rich and famous, and included the Rockefellers, Vanderbilts, Fords, Morgans, Astors and Pulitzers. They built lavish "cottages," mansions really, of gigantic proportions, and acquired large tracts of land on the island. Their opulent summer lifestyles were far from that of the native fishermen and farmers. Surprisingly, it was through the generous donations of land by these wealthy summer vacationers that helped develop Acadia National Park, the first national park created by donations from private citizens.
John D. Rockefeller Jr., alone, donated more
than 10,000 acres of land including a significant section of coastline. While roads for access to many parts of the island were being created and improved, Rockefeller became concerned the island would become over-run with tourist-driven automobiles and wished to preserve the rustic and peaceful natural beauty of the island. In 1913, he spearheaded a project to create 57 miles of "carriage roads" where travel by motorized vehicles would be prohibited. Even today, these roads are limited to horsedrawn carriages, horseback, bicycling, hiking and cross country skiers.
In order to construct these roads it was necessary to bridge waterways, ravines and even the park roadways. Using local granite and cobblestones, 17 mortar core and earth filled spandrel arch bridges, designed by Welles Bosworth and Charles Stoughton, were constructed. With the exception of one faced with cobblestones, these beautiful bridges were faced with hand hewn granite.
Having spent many years in bridge construction, I found these bridges fascinating and hope you do too!
Cobblestone Bridge, the first bridge built and completed in 1917
Triple Arch Duck Brook Bridge, one of the longest in the park. Note the viewing turrets.
Bubble Pond Bridge. This bridge originally spanned the Park Loop Road. In 1980, the Park Loop Road was relocated becuase it was felt it passed too close to Bubble Pond.
You pass under this bridge as you leave the park and head towards Seal Harbor
This carriage road bridge passes over Route 233 near one park entrance.
Although not a carriage road, this bridge of similar style can be found along the Park Loop Road.
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