1 vote

North Bridge


The deck and side of the bridge

Photo taken by Zachery in June 2012


BH Photo #252496


The present simple timber piling bridge at the historic site of the original bridge is the 5th bridge; it was built in 1956 to be a replica of the original design, and was rehabilitated in 2005. The 1775 bridge was taken down in 1788. Then there was no bridge at all at the site until 1875 when the "Centennial Bridge" was built to provide access to the then-new Minuteman Statue on the west bank. Subsequent bridges were built in 1889, 1909, and 1956.

The Old North Bridge in Concord MA is the site of the first real skirmish between the British and the colonial militia (after the smaller Battle on Lexington Green) on April 19,1775. The "shot heard round the world " marked the start of the American Revolution that day.

At the bridge 100 British regulars guarding the bridge met an increasing number of 400 Minutemen streaming in to block further advance. The British retreated back across the bridge and then after a couple of warning shots a couple of colonial militia men were killed. Finally, militia Major Buttricks yelled "fire, for God's sakes fellow soldiers fire!" This lead quickly to 3 British killed and 4 British officers wounded and the outnumbered British retreated. In 1836 Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote the famous poem "Concord Hymn" with the lines :

By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to Aprilís breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood
And fired the shot heard round the world.

The Minuteman National Park Service information website can be found at http://www.nps.gov/mima/north-bridge-questions.htm .

According to an NPS ranger, the original bridge was much lower to the water than later bridges. It was designed so that the deck could be washed away in a flood, leaving the bents intact for rapid reconstruction of the bridge after the flood. If there was advance warning of the flood, the deck could even be removed and stored on high ground for reuse.


Historic timber stringer bridge over Concord River on Old Groton Road (pedestrian path)
Concord, Middlesex County, Massachusetts
Open to pedestrians
First bridge built ca 1760; site of Battle of Concord 1775; demolished 1788; rebuilt 1875, 1889, 1909, 1956; rehabilitated 2005
Timber stringer
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1966
Also called
Concord Bridge
Old North Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+42.46903, -71.35064   (decimal degrees)
42°28'09" N, 71°21'02" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
19/306756/4704531 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
141 ft. above sea level
Inventory numbers
NRHP 66000935 (National Register of Historic Places reference number)
BH 56008 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • August 7, 2020: Updated by Nick Boppel: Added categories "Concord River", "Footbridge"
  • April 2, 2018: New photos from Richard Doody
  • August 5, 2017: New photos from Robert Lindberg
  • August 30, 2015: Updated by Roger Deschner: Add new photos; update status, history, description
  • December 8, 2014: New photo from Robert Lindberg
  • December 4, 2014: New photo from Robert Lindberg
  • December 3, 2014: New photos from Robert Lindberg
  • April 13, 2013: Added by Zachery



North Bridge
Posted August 30, 2015, by Roger Deschner (rogerdeschner [at] gmail [dot] com)

With the photos I just uploaded, we now have pictures of all 5 versions of historic North Bridge since its pivotal role in the Revolutionary War in 1775:

1760: Photos 15, 17

1875: Photo 21

1898: Photos 2, 3, 4(best), 9, 12, 13

1909: Photos 10, 11

1956: Photos 1, 5, 6, 7, 8, 16(best), 18, 19, 20