Three bridges span the Connecticut River between Hartford and East Hartford – each with their own unique history.
Completed in 1908, the bridge is on the National Register of Historic Places. It replaced a series of bridges that were destroyed by fires or ice flows. Its monumental granite arches are testament that the Bridge Commission, chaired by prominent Hartford citizen Morgan Bulkeley, wanted a bridge that would last. As part of the bridge-widening project to accommodate I-84 in the 1960’s, every stone block on the north façade was removed, numbered and replaced to keep the historic façade intact. To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the bridge, Riverfront Recapture worked with the Connecticut Department of Transportation to temporarily illuminate the bridge facades with colorful LED flood lights. We are currently working on a plan to light the arches on a permanent basis.
Walkway railings on the new bridge featured cast-iron medallions, commissioned as a WPA project that depicted four different scenes representative of Hartford and East Hartford history. Riverfront Recapture salvaged some of these medallions when the bridge was replaced in 1992 and reused them on the new Founders Bridge promenade in 1999.
A toll bridge when it opened in opened in 1957, the bridge had ramp access to the new Interstate 91 and carried local traffic between Hartford and East Hartford. The bridge was reconstructed in the 1990’s as part of the Connecticut Department’s redesign of the I-91/I-84 interchange. During that project, I-91 was rebuilt at ground level and a plaza was built over the highway to reunite downtown Hartford with the river. A spacious pedestrian promenade was added to the bridge, and ramps to and from I-91 were removed.