FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 12, 2017
Peter Michaud, N.H. Division of Historical Resources
Milford Suspension Bridge named to National Register of Historic Places
The New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources is proud to announce that the Milford Suspension Bridge has been honored by the United States Secretary of the Interior with placement on the National Register of Historic Places.
In the mid- and late 1800s, two wooden pedestrian bridges spanned the Souhegan River in Milford. At the March 1889 town meeting, a warrant was approved to build a new bridge with a budget of $3,500; the project was completed that same year.
The 275-foot long Milford Suspension Bridge bridge’s abutments, made from irregular blocks of split granite, were built by local quarryman Newton Perham. The Berlin Iron Bridge Company of East Berlin, Conn. designed and constructed the bridge, which is made primarily from riveted iron angles and bars, riveted lattice girders, suspension cables and a wooden floor.
In nineteen century, Milford’s mills made patented post office boxes that dominated the American market as well as bedroom furniture, baskets and yarns for knitting and crocheting. At a time when foot access across the river was the norm in New Hampshire’s small villages, the suspension bridge made it easy to travel from the residential neighborhoods on the east side of the river to the manufacturing complexes, business district, town hall and high school on the western side.
The bridge has been in nearly continuous use since it was built. In anticipation of Bicentennial in 1975, it was sandblasted, brush-painted with three coats of paint and had a chain-link fence railing installed for safety.
The Milford Suspension Bridge is the only surviving bridge of 78 built in New Hampshire by the Berlin Iron Bridge Company. One of the most prolific bridge building companies in United States in the late 1800s, Berlin Iron Bridge was acquired by J.P. Morgan and Company in 1900 and became part of the American Bridge Company, which became a subsidiary of United States Steel two years later.
Administered by the National Park Service, which is part of the U.S. Department of the Interior, the National Register of Historic Places is the nation’s official list of cultural resources worthy of preservation and is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate and protect our historic and archaeological resources.
Listing to the National Register does not impose any new or additional restrictions or limitations on the use of private or non-federal properties. Listings identify historically significant properties and can serve as educational tools and increase heritage tourism opportunities. The rehabilitation of National Register-listed commercial or industrial buildings may qualify for certain federal tax provisions.
In New Hampshire, listing to the National Register makes applicable property owners eligible for grants such as the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program or LCHIP (lchip.org) and the Conservation License Plate Program (nh.gov/nhdhr/grants/moose).
For more information on the National Register program in New Hampshire, please visit nh.gov/nhdhr or contact Peter Michaud at the New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources at 603-271-3583.
New Hampshire’s Division of Historical Resources, the “State Historic Preservation Office,” was established in 1974. The historical, archaeological, architectural and cultural resources of New Hampshire are among its most important environmental assets. Historic preservation promotes the use, understanding and conservation of such resources for the education, inspiration, pleasure and enrichment of New Hampshire’s citizens. For more information, visit nh.gov/nhdhr or call 603-271-3483.