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Mt. Hope Bridge 1929

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The Mt. Hope Bridge was privately financed and opened in 1929.

As automobiles became more common, the Bristol Ferry became less practical.  The state of Rhode Island would not build a bridge, but private investors began construction in 1927.  At a cost of 4 million dollars, the 6,130 foot suspension bridge was the longest bridge in New England when it opened on October 24, 1929.  Opening parades and celebrations included up to 25,000 cars.

The Old Stone Bridge

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Howland’s Ferry went across the narrowest part of the Sakonnet River, and that is just where the first bridge off Aquidneck Island was constructed.  A toll bridge was constructed by the Rhode Island Bridge Company in 1795.  The bridge was rebuilt and washed away again in 1798 and remained closed until 1808.  The Great September Gale of 1815 destroyed it and it was rebuilt again under the name of the Stone Bridge.  The draw part of the bridge was washed away in 1869, and the owners sold the Stone Bridge to the towns of Tiverton and Portsmouth.  The towns, in turn, gave the bridge to the state to maintain.  The bridge was rebuilt and reopened in 1871 as a free bridge without a toll.  More damage was done by storms and ships that rammed the bridge and it closed after Hurricane Carol. Ferries such as the West Side were used while the bridge was out.   In 1957 it was replaced by the then new Sakonnet River Bridge. What remains of the Stone Bridge is used as a fishing pier today.

Howland Ferry area

The Stone Bridge began as a toll bridge.