History of the Narrows Bridge

The Narrows Bridge was first build in 1802 by Frederick Hobbs, who was paid all of $10 for the job.  At that time, the first dam that created Little Chocorua Lake had not yet been built, and the crossing was over the Chocorua River.  Each time the bridge was rebuilt, it had a slightly different railing pattern and longer approaches, but the railings were always built of logs arranged in panels of similar proportions and retaining a rustic design.

Over the years, the railing have been rebuilt many times, usually every 15 to 20 years, by local craftsmen and volunteers. Like the current structure, the earlier bridge railings were built from trees that had been cut, stripped of all branches and bark, and arranged as log posts and rails in panels with log cross braces. At that time, the railing extended only a short way along the approach, but its appearance along the deck differed from the existing bridge only in that the lower rail was positioned at the mid-point of the braces, rather than at their base.

In 1954, the bridge railings were rebuilt by Roy Hammond. In 1971, the railings were vandalized, and were subsequently rebuilt by Bob Lloyd, his son Mac Lloyd, and Sam Newsom using spruce logs donated by the Moot family. In 1995, Sam Newsom and Greg Lanou built new railings using spruce logs donated by the Lloyd family. In 2011, the current cedar railings were built by Larry Nickerson, Ned Eldredge and Jack Terwilliger to replicate a historic design found in a photo taken in the early 1900s. The current railings are constructed from white cedar trees harvested near Machias, Maine. In 2018, a portion of the railings was rebuilt again, after the railings were accidentally damaged.

The deck has similarly been replaced over the years, but again always built of wood planks. The granite abutments and wing walls remain unchanged. In 2014, the Town of Tamworth replaced the bridge's underlying steel beam structure and wooden planks. To facilitate the bridge work, Larry Nickerson and some helpers removed the cedar railings and reinstalled them back on the new bridge.

Image: Snowfall on the Narrows Bridge. Photo credit: Thad Berrier.