The Older Factory Street Bridge Was Once Covered
The Factory Street Bridge, the first span to cross from Factory Street onto Sewalls Island, was built sometime in the mid 19th century and was covered. Much like the wooden Court Street Bridge, the Factory Street bridge posed a number of problems for the city during its later years. Constant maintenance was needed, the planks often needing to be replaced in their entirety as the bridge became no longer suitable for both the increasing traffic and their heavier loads.
In 1888, the city would pull the old, rickety bridge down. The new bridge, much like the one constructed on Mill Street in the 1890s, wouldn’t last too long. The daily traffic and deliveries to Bagley & Sewall and New York Air Brake once it opened its east plant on Starbuck Ave would take a toll on the bridge as some of the horse drawn wagons loaded with supplies would reach the cumulative weight of several tons.
If that alone weren’t enough, the expansion of the trolley line from High Street to the Bridge and beyond was added in 1891. The new Factory Street Bridge, by 1919, was admittedly not intended for such heavy loads and inspections found it to be in weak condition with trusses that were already rusted. Only ten years old in 1898, another $2400 was spent strengthening and repairing it.
Lasting just 30 years, the bridge that replaced the wooden, covered bridge, would be replaced in 1919-1920 at a cost between $53-54,000. The short lifespan apparently resulted in very few photos of the bridge being taken as none have been found, though, per the lithograph drawing above, it would have been similar to the other iron bridges of that era. The section of the street itself would later be renamed as part of Pearl St.