QR Code Tour #7 - The Stone Bridge
The first bridge across the Souhegan River was at Shepard’s Mill built by John Shepard in 1758. At that time near the falls of the river there was a shallow place that could be forded easily by people but horse teams had to cross through the river. A pubic bridge was erected in 1783 and this was where the name “The Mill by the Ford” originated.
On March 31 of 1794 shortly after the incorporation of the town in January, the town of Milford voted to rebuild the bridge which had been washed away by a freshet. The bridge at this site had to be rebuilt several more times – 1802, 1808, and 1835, all damaged again by freshets. By 1845 a double stone arched bridge was built costing $2,000. The summer that year was very hot and dry and this bridge proved to be defective and rebuilt in 1846 at the cost of $4,500 to $5,000. Sidewalks were added along with an iron fence, some of which still exists in 2014 at the north end of the bridge. Also in 1846 Putnam and Chase built a dam for Souhegan Manufacturing Company’s use.
A major rebuilding and widening of the bridge was done in 1931 to 1934 with $12,000 appropriated for the bridge and by the time the project was done, $30,000 had been spent. The bridge was widened, the iron rails removed and replaced with granite and electric lights added.