2 votes

Mattabesset River Bridge


CT 33M 1

Photo taken by Chester Gehman in May 2015


BH Photo #403933

Street View 


A lenticular truss that seems to have evaded almost every inventory of surviving examples, despite being located on the doorstep of the Berlin Iron Bridge Co. factory. It appears to have carried a local road (predating the adjacent Sebethe Drive, which follows a railroad bed) to a clay/sand pit on the Cromwell side of the river. 1962 aerials seem to show it more or less abandoned, and as of February 2015 the Berlin Historical Society posted a photo of it still in place.


Abandoned lenticular pony truss bridge over Mattabesset River on Unknown Road in Cromwell.
Cromwell, Middlesex County, Connecticut, and Hartford County, Connecticut
Built 1880s or 1890s
- Berlin Iron Bridge Co. of East Berlin, Connecticut
Lenticular pony truss
Approximate latitude, longitude
+41.61725, -72.71157   (decimal degrees)
41°37'02" N, 72°42'42" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
18/690659/4609810 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Inventory number
BH 66398 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • September 28, 2017: New Street View added by Dana and Kay Klein
  • September 28, 2017: New photos from Chester Gehman
  • March 3, 2015: Added by Ian Martin



Mattabesset River Bridge
Posted September 28, 2017, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

This bridge is a spectacular discovery! It is always a good day when a lenticular truss surfaces. I will have to add it to my Connecticut bucket list.

Mattabesset River Bridge
Posted September 28, 2017, by Michael Quiet (mquiet [at] gmail [dot] com)

Thats a beauty...thanks Chester!

This is quite a strong design too, no doubt owing to the industrial nature of its usage. Its quite similar to the Interlaken Mill bridge over in RI ( http://bridgehunter.com/ri/kent/interlaken-mill ) with its floorbeams at or above the lower chord and pinned endposts, never mind the much more substantial upper and lower chords.

Hope they can find a preservation use for this one...its much to important to be left in this condition!

Mattabesset River Bridge
Posted September 28, 2017, by Dana and Kay Klein

Chester thanks for Sharing, AWESOME!

Mattabesset River Bridge
Posted May 3, 2015, by Chet Gehman (gehmanc2000 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

The old topo maps are a help here too. Middletown 1893 NW shows the railroad still complete to East Berlin. Middletown 1952 NW shows the line cut at the East Berlin station with a road to the north. The outriggers on the north side of the road bridge could have supported a walkway for pedestrians. But that girder bridge almost looks too narrow for a track. Maybe it was replaced after abandonment?



Mattabesset River Bridge
Posted May 3, 2015, by Ian Martin

Yes, I would definitely agree that it's not a railroad bridge. The "East Berlin" section of TylerCityStation (http://www.tylercitystation.info/stations-e.html) has an 1895 company letterhead showing what looks to be this bridge with the railroad bridge downstream. There seems to be some consensus that the adjacent pipeline bridge is the old RR bridge. There are photos of both bridges here: http://blog.thevalleylocal.net/2015/01/ghosts-of-east-berlin...

Mattabesset River Bridge
Posted May 2, 2015, by Chet Gehman (gehmanc2000 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

Good find, Ian! You are right--the only list I am aware of that includes this bridge is Prof. Lutenegger's at UMass.


I have been meaning to visit the site and finally did today. An interesting feature is the outriggers on the north side of the bridge, whose function is unknown. The bridge is far too light to carry the railraod although the wood under all the debris looks like railroad ties.