Readers of Look Me in the Eye (the book, not this blog) may recall my chapter on Montagoonians. Some of you probably thought I made that name up, but I didn't. They are as real as Sunday or Jeb's beagle. Culture has come to Montague with the opening of places like the Book Mill, and fewer Montagoonians are born with webbed feet or extra eyes.
Despite that, there is still sometimes a need to get away; to escape. The bridge in this story allows safe passage across the Connecticut River, from Montague to Deerfield. The river flows fast here, and it's treacherous to try and swim. During flood, there are whirlpools that will swallow a life jacket whole and spit it back up a hundred yards downstream.
There's a road bridge just north of this span, but it's above the Deerfield, and enters Greenfield, which may not provide much relief to a fleeing Montagoonian. Not only is Greenfield not much better, the span is easily blocked by deranged natives with clubs and torches.
To me, the best thing about this bridge it the fact that it's a train bridge. Some of you may find this story on railroad bridges boring. I can understand that. Train bridges aren't for everyone. But they're not boring to me. I guess this is one of my geeky special interests, and I hope a few of you find it at least somewhat interesting.
The maker’s plates at either side told the story. On the Deerfield side, you see this plate:
Their Connecticut Rover bridge was an engineering marvel. Look at the light but strong construction. They used riveted main girders that were assembled with huge bolts. An intricate lattice of truss rods gave the structure its necessary rigidity and strength.