To the editor of THE EAGLE:
While reading the July 20 article about the railroad bridges on the Westfield River, I am reminded of two older keystone bridges along Route 8 in Cheshire and Adams. Both bridges were constructed in 1830 when the county commissioners authorized a major reconstruction of what is not Route 8 starting in Cheshire and continuing north all the way through North Adams.
The bridge in Cheshire spans Bassett Brook and has never been altered which makes it one of if not the oldest keystone arch bridges in Massachusetts that is still in its original form. Traffic over the bridge was re-routed in 1935 when Route 8 was relocated slightly east of the bridge to eliminate a dangerous curve (more information is available in my book "Historical Mysteries of Cheshire.")
To see this bridge, which is in the Cheshire Harbor, you would turn west onto Reservoir Road from Route 8 and park in the turnout just 100 feet from the highway. The old iron railing is unstable, but the bridge is still very solid and I usually park the car right on it. Some day this will make a lovely rest area with appropriate historical signage.
The second bridge is in the Maple Grove section of Adams and is a double keystone arch. Route 8 traffic still goes over this bridge, which has been widened with concrete additions. However, from the parking lot of the old stone mill, located right next to the bridge, one can still see the original keystone structure.