The Globe reports Boston officials have decided to tear down the old Northern Avenue Bridge starting in March - although a spokeswoman for the mayor said today that "there will still be an opportunity to preserve the bridge, but it cannot stay where it is because of its current condition."
Then, of course, the city will spend tens of millions to build a new bridge and never mind the Moakley Bridge a block away was built specifically as a wider, more modern alternatives to the Northern Avenue span, built in 1908, when the area around Fort Point and along the South Boston waterfront was a bustling industrial port dominated by train tracks.
Although the Globe reports replacing the bridge was one of the promises the city made to get General Electric to move here, mayoral spokeswoman Bonnie McGilpin says: "The Mayor committed to rebuilding the Northern Ave Bridge to support vehicular, pedestrian and bicycle traffic last spring, it is not being built for GE."
According to the Library of Congress, the bridge is a "swing" bridge, named for the way it opened to ships: "The rim bearing swing span is carried by a 40 foot diameter drum, in turn supported by 56 steel wheels running on a track along the rim of the granite island pier."
The bridge led to Fan Pier, named because of the way the train tracks fanned out on it. Today, the spot below is where the federal courthouse and Vertex are (photo by Leslie Jones):
Fort Point Channel in 1931 (from the Library of Congress):
When you could still drive across the bridge, in the late 1980s (the Library of Congress):
Some of the gears that swung the center part of the bridge (from the Library of Congress):
The locked and unusable bridge today:
Leslie Jones photos from the BPL online collections. Posted under this Creative Commons license.