As it nears 100 years...

Mt Hope Bridge story told

Posted

The story of the Mt Hope Bridge, spanning nearly 100 years, will be the topic at the Bosworth Lecture Series on Thursday, April 12 at 7:00PM at the Rogers Free Library. The event is free and open to all.

Robert J Dermody, engineer and associate professor in architecture, art and historic preservation at Roger Williams Univ, will tell the story of the conception, design and construction of the iconic bridge.

Designed and built for a lifespan of 100 years, the Mt Hope Bridge is fast approaching that age. Prof Dermody will explain how structural engineers and designers have worked to fortify and prolong the life of the East Bay structure.

"In its 88 year lifetime the Mt. Hope Bridge has had a profound impact on the development and growth of Bristol and Aquidneck Island," Prof Dermody said. "Its striking form spanning the bay has made it an icon of the region."

Opening to great fanfare on Oct 24, 1929, and promoted as the bridge to “take the island out of Rhode Island,” the award winning, 1200-foot steel suspension span altered the entire East Bay. It replaced sail, steam, and even horse powered ferries that ran between Bristol and Portsmouth for over 100 years.

It was designed by noted bridge engineer David B. Steinman of New York City. The design included structural innovations, as well as the first use of a unique color scheme and lighting system.

It’s gracefully curved deck and suspension cables are supported by 285-foot tall towers and braced with gothic styled arches. It earned itself a designation on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.

Robert J. Dermody, AIA, NCARB, holds a Bachelors Degree in Civil Engineering from Univ of Mass at Amherst, and a Master of Architecture degree with concentration in structures from Univ of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.

He teaches design studios and technical courses in structures and construction materials and methods. He is a founding member and board member of the Building Technology Educators Society, and a licensed architect in Mass.

The Roswell S. Bosworth, Jr. Lecture Series is presented by the Men's Club, a Bristol organization that pays tribute to its founding member and former editor/publisher of the East Bay Newspapers with lectures of general interest.

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.