The (Mystic) Tobin Bridge
The (Mystic) Tobin Bridge
May 4, 1949: The lower half completed, forms went up for concreting the upper pedestals of the Mystic River Bridge. To reach the top of the forms, the company pumped concrete 132 feet straight up. This photograph shows Pier M-3 completed on the Chelsea side. The closeness of the old swing bridge created construction problems while the deep water piers were being built.
Nov. 28, 1949: A view from the Charlestown end of the new Mystic River Bridge showed the double deck construction, with separate levels for incoming and outgoing traffic. The new Mystic River Bridge was New England's largest, longest structure of that type. It was 2,700 feet longer than San Francisco's famed Golden Gate , and twice as long as New York's Brooklyn Bridge. The War Department set 135 feet above mean tide as the necessary clearance for the big oceangoing shipping which made much use of the Mystic River. The length of 2¼ miles was necessary to maintain grades of about 3 percent and not to exceed 6 percent. A shorter bridge would have plunged down on each side like a roller coaster.
Feb. 14, 1950: The original Mystic Bridge decal cost 50 cents and was good indefinitely. Without the decal, it cost a motorist a 15-cent toll every time the bridge was crossed. With a decal the toll was only 10 cents. The decal was stuck on the outside of the windshield, moistened and pulled off leaving the imprint on the glass. Each had a number, and the decal came in two sizes. One three inches in diameter went on the right of the rear window. A smaller one could be placed on the right ventilator window.
Feb. 25, 1950: A parade of 100 cars from the State House preceded the ceremonies at the dedication of the new bridge. In the foreground can be seen some of the old autos that participated. At the right is the viewing stand where the flag was raised. Governor Paul A. Dever cut the ribbon on the new bridge and called the completion of the bridge "the first day of life of a modern and greater Boston."
Feb. 27, 1950: Monday morning commuters approaching Charlestown enjoyed a first ride over the new span dedicated on Saturday. The bridge was officially opened one minute after midnight on Feb. 26 with motorists standing by waiting for the green lights to flash. The first car from Chelsea to Boston was driven by Irving Feinberg of Brookline, owner of a scrap rubber business in Chelsea. The first person to drive the lower level from Boston to Chelsea was William Fernance, a fisherman from Gloucester. During the first half hour, 1,843 cars passed thought the toll gates.
June 21, 1971: A Tobin Bridge tolltaker was seen applying a new sticker to a car. New $2 stickers went on sale after Suffolk Superior Court Judge Reuben L. Lurie refused to issue a restraining order which would have prevented the increase by the Massachusetts Port Authority. The stickers, good for only a year, entitled motorists to pay 15 cents instead of 25 cents every time they used the bridge.
Sept. 10, 1973: A 10-ton gravel truck hauling a load of gravel to the airport as part of the expansion project there hit a girder on the lower deck of the Tobin Bridge and collapsed the upper deck onto the truck. David L. Bettencourt of North Dartmouth was the driver of the truck and was killed in the crash.
Nov. 29, 1973: The first solitary car traveled over the newly repaired upper level of the southbound side of the Tobin Bridge. The level had been closed since Sept. 10 when a truck slammed into a column and collapsed a section of the span.
Jan. 14, 1989: A couple shared a quiet moment alone at Admiral's Hill in Chelsea with the Tobin Bridge in the background. The Mystic River Bridge was renamed the Maurice J. Tobin Memorial Bridge on June 14, 1967. Tobin was governor of Massachusetts from 1945-47 and also served as secretary of labor in President Truman's Cabinet.