NEW BRAINTREE – OLD FURNACE BRIDGE
In 1799 there were two important roads running east to west in New Braintree – one to Worcester called the North County Road and one to Boston called the Sixth Massachusetts Turnpike.
The “Turnpike” ran from Shrewsbury to Amherst entering New Braintree from Oakham, crossed Route 67, followed Ravine Road, joined the North County Road and combined they crossed the Ware River at Old Furnace. The first bridge was made of wood. It was then replaced with a metal bridge and was referred to by locals as the “Silver Bridge” as it was coated with a paint containing silvery colored zinc. Zinc acts as a rust inhibitor on ferrous metals and the bridge was constructed of iron. The abutments of this bridge can still be seen on each bank of the Ware River.
The new bridge, which is also silver colored, is still referred to as the Silver Bridge and was completed in 1978. It has been dedicated to the war veterans from Hardwick and New Braintree.