A Changing Bridge for Changing Times: The History of the West Boston Bridge, 1793-1907

Dale H. Freeman, University of Massachusetts Boston


Master of Arts Thesis, June 2000: This thesis examines the construction in 1793 of the West Boston Bridge, the first bridge to span the Charles River between Boston and Cambridge, and its successors at the same location in 1854 and then 1907 (the Longfellow Bridge). It is a study of the impact of these bridges on the commercial development and urban settlement patterns of both Cambridge and Boston, and it sets the construction of each bridge in the historical context of the period in which each was built. The thesis utilizes a variety of primary sources drawn from the Cambridge Historical Commission, the Massachusetts State Archives, the Massachusetts Historical Society, the Cambridge Public Library, as well as historical Boston and Cambridge newspapers.