The Bailey Island Bridge

The Bailey Island Bridge

To a child, crossing the Bailey Island Bridge was a thrill--it was so long and narrow and, in the middle, high above the water.
To a child, crossing the Bailey Island Bridge was a thrill--it was so long and narrow and, in the middle, high above the water.
Here you can see the unique construction of the bridge, entirely of cut stone placed in layers, with gaps for the water to go through.
Here you can see the unique construction of the bridge, entirely of cut stone placed in layers, with gaps for the water to go through.
The view from my cousin's boat.  Room for a good sized boat to pass under.
The view from my cousin's boat. Room for a good sized boat to pass under.
The view from Cooks Point including the bridge and open ocean beyond.
The view from Cooks Point including the bridge and open ocean beyond.

A Unique Bridge Design


On reading Amanda Severn's hub showing bridges in art and photos, I decided to post a hub on this bridge from my childhood.

After an afternoon of haying on our farm, which was about a half hour inland from the islands, we loved to get in the car and go for a swim off the Orr's Island ledges. Sometimes we would go over the Bailey Island Bridge and all the way to Land's End where we looked for pretty stones along a little rocky beach. The trip to Land's End was exciting.

I remember hearing that the Bailey Island Bridge was designed in the architectural style of bridges in Scotland--and that there was none other like it in the US. Don't know whether that's true, but it's always nice to feel that your area is special.

A Wikipedia entry explains: Design of the 1,150-foot bridge was complicated by the tides in the area known as Will’s Gut. It was decided to build a cribstone bridge using granite slabs from local quarries. Granite slabs were considered sufficiently heavy to withstand wind and wave, while the open cribbing allowed the tide to ebb and flow freely without increasing tidal current to any great degree. Some 10,000 tons of granite were used in the project.

The entry further says that a sidewalk was added in 1951—which would have been after my first trips across the bridge. The 1961 guard rails were added after I grew up.

The bridge is a Historic Civil Engineering Landmark, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Bailey Island Bridge is reported to be the only granite cribstone bridge in the world. I wonder if I made up that story about similar Scottish bridges.



Comments 3 comments

amillar profile image

amillar 6 years ago from Scotland, UK

Well triciajean I haven't seen anything like it in my part of Scotland, but I'm just a stones throw from the English/Scottish Border, and there was a time when it wasn't only stones they threw. Nice hub though.


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 6 years ago from UK

I've not seen anything like this here in the South of England, though it seems a practical solution to the problem of a fierce tide. Lovely photos Triciajean, and an interesting history. Thanks for posting!


triciajean profile image

triciajean 6 years ago from Bantam, CT Author

Thanks for you responses, amillar and Amanda. It was fun to do a hub with pictures--and way fun to live that life on the farm and the islands.

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