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Presumpscot Falls Bridge



Photo taken by Brian Vandenbrink, November 1993 for HAER

View photos at Library of Congress

BH Photo #127776



"Constructed in 1913 by the Sanders Construction Co. for the Town of Falmouth at a cost of $15,167.38, the Presumpscot Falls Bridge is an open spandrel, reinforced concrete arch structure. At the time of its construction, it was the longest single cement span in the state. It is one of only two open spandrel concrete arch bridges in the State of Maine, the other being the Chisholm Park Bridge in Rumford, constructed in 1926. The first reinforced concrete arch bridge in the U.S. was in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, in 1889. The Presumpscot Falls Bridge represents an example of a type of bridge construction which was utilized from 1910-1930. The present structure represents perhaps the zenith of this style. The use of reinforced concrete lasted only until it was supplanted by reinforced steel, and therefore represents a brief period of material experimentation. This fact, coupled with its location in Maine, render this an important example.

"The Presumpscot Falls Bridge (also known as the Smelt Hill Bridge, the Pleasant Hill Bridge, and the Allen Ave. ext. Bridge) is scheduled for replacement in 1994 by the Maine Dept. of Transportation. While the bridge is still in operation, the concrete arch and deck are spalling at such a rate as to render its repair impractical. According to MDOT officials, the bridge should have its tonnage rating lowered, but will nevertheless be demolished in early 1994, replaced with a similarly designed structure.

"This documentation project was performed in cooperation and under contract with the Maine Historic Preservation Commission under contract #014-94P-1652-202-4097. The written documentation was performed by Erik W. Carson; the photographic documentation was performed by Brian Vandenbrink." [Editor's note: Follow the link below to read the report.]

Erik. W. Carson
Historic Preservation Planning Consultant
105 W. Main St.
Yarmouth, ME 04096



Lost concrete arch bridge over Presumpscot River on SA6 (Allen Avenue Extension) in Falmouth
Falmouth, Cumberland County, Maine
Replaced by new bridge
Built 1913, deck replaced in 1956, replaced in 1995
- C. W. Bagley
- G. L. Johnson
- Sanders Contracting Co.
Open-spandrel concrete arch
Total length: 460.0 ft.
Deck width: 18.0 ft.
Also called
Smelt Hill Bridge
Pleasant Hill Bridge
Allen Avenue Extension
Approximate latitude, longitude
+43.71750, -70.26444   (decimal degrees)
43°43'03" N, 70°15'52" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
19/398144/4841273 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Portland West
Inventory number
BH 38146 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • November 17, 2008: Added by J.R. Manning

Related Bridges 


  • J.R. Manning - thekitchenguy [at] sbcglobal [dot] net
  • HAER ME-9 - Presumpscot Falls Bridge, Spanning Presumptscot River at Allen Avenue extension, 0.75 mile west of U.S. Interstate 95, Falmouth, Cumberland County, ME