2 votes

Ponakin Bridge


Ma1172 'Barrel Shot' Showing Truss And Wooden Deck

Photo taken by Historic American Engineering Record

View photos at Library of Congress

BH Photo #154711



Abandoned post through truss bridge over North Branch Nashua River on Ponakin Road in Lancaster
Lancaster, Worcester County, Massachusetts
Built 1871; closed to traffic 1978
- Simeon S. Post (Truss design)
- Watson Manufacturing Co. of Paterson, New Jersey
Wrought- and cast-iron Post through truss
Span length: 100.0 ft.
Total length: 100.0 ft.
Deck width: 20.7 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 14.8 ft.
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on September 10, 1979
Also called
Ponakin Mill Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+42.48122, -71.68522   (decimal degrees)
42°28'52" N, 71°41'07" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
19/279292/4706702 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Inventory numbers
NRHP 79000378 (National Register of Historic Places reference number)
BH 44061 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • July 30, 2020: New photos from Patrick Gurwell
  • June 18, 2020: New photo from Patrick Gurwell
  • May 3, 2020: New photo from Patrick Gurwell
  • April 26, 2020: Updated by Nick Boppel: Mark bridge as dereliect/abandoned as it is no longer accessible from the ground
  • April 24, 2017: New photos from Chester Gehman
  • August 10, 2016: Updated by Christopher Finigan: Added category "Pin-connected"
  • June 14, 2014: New photos from Chester Gehman
  • February 8, 2010: Added by James Baughn


  • Historicbridges.org - by Nathan Holth
  • HAER MA-13 - Ponakin Road Bridge, Spanning Nashua River on Ponakin Road, Lancaster vicinity, Worcester County, MA
  • Wikipedia
  • Chester Gehman - gehmanc2000 [at] yahoo [dot] com
  • Nick Boppel - nickboppel01 [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Patrick Gurwell - pgurwell [at] gmail [dot] com


Ponakin Bridge
Posted April 26, 2020, by Nick Boppel (nickboppel01 [at] gmail [dot] com)

The Atherton Bridge is now indefinitely closed to all traffic due to flood damage to the wooden deck. Its future is uncertain.

I confirmed the previous report from the anonymous user that the trail through the woods once used to access this bridge is closed, with a metal barrier blocking access and a sign reading "Trail Closed - No Trespassing". As such, the bridge can only be accessed if you have a boat to take on the river.

Given that this bridge's wooden deck is in even worse condition than the Atherton Bridge, I would be concerned about this bridge's safety if there were to be any significant floods that rose the river level this high (unlikely, but possible).

Ponakin Bridge
Posted October 30, 2019, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

This Nationally important bridge should have long been preserved, it should be a disgrace for local preservation groups to see it that way!

Ponakin Bridge
Posted October 30, 2019, by Anonymous

There were several rumors being circulated among residents of the surrounding communities that this bridge had collapsed... however I have verified for myself that the bridge is intact but is not accessible. The wooden deck has completely deteriorated and has rotted away, but the iron superstructure remains intact. The narrow and steep trail through the woods that formerly connected this bridge to a nearby road was indefinitely closed last month due to the Triple E scare with no plans for reopening any time soon. The trail had not been maintained recently, anyways.

Ponakin Bridge
Posted April 21, 2014, by ArtS (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)