9 Washington St, Pembroke, MA 02359, USA
Owned By: Towns of Hanover and Pembroke
In 1656, Plymouth Colony paid William Barstow 12 pounds sterling to build the first bridge to cross the North River. For foot and horse traffic only, it stood about 50 feet upstream of the existing bridge on Washington Street. Barstow’s Bridge was replaced in 1682 with a cart bridge; the old stone abutments still remain. The existing location dates back to 1829. The current bridge was constructed in 1904.
Plan ahead and use extreme caution when paddling under the Washington Street Bridge. The North River narrows significantly at this spot, in order to flow between the abutments of the stone bridge. When the tide and/or current are in your favor, passing beneath the bridge can be an exhilarating flume-ride type of experience. However when the tide and/or current are going the opposite way than you are, it can be extremely difficult — even impossible — to overcome the power of the water working against you.
Tide Math: High tide at the Washington Street Bridge is about 2.5-3 hours after the Boston high tide.
Barstow's Bridge was located at a place called Stoney Reache. William Barstow received £20 for maintaining the bridge from 1662 to 1682. When it was replaced by a cart bridge the following year, construction costs were shared equally by the towns of Scituate, Duxbury and Marshfield. The bridge marks the town line between Pembroke and Hanover. (Pembroke was still part of Duxbury at that time and Hanover was part of Scituate.) The road that passed over Barstow's Bridge eventually became part of the Old Turnpike Road from Boston to Plymouth, with stagecoaches roaring down the hill and across the bridge. In 1829, a stone bridge was built, to replace Barstow's Bridge. It stood about 50 feet downstream, and became known as North River Bridge. The bridge was raised and rebuilt around 1870, with the hills on either side graded for a less severe drop and climb.
Packet ship lines were established prior to 1670, and thrived until railroads came to the South Shore in the mid-to-late 1800s. Over time, White's Ferry, Little's Bridge, Union Bridge, Hobart's Landing, Foster's Landing, Job's Landing, Brick-Kiln Yard, and the North River Bridge in Hanover became regular stops. Farmers would meet the packet ship and barter their home-grown vegetables and dairy products for goods from China and Mediterranean, such as coffee, sugar and spices. In addition to home-grown goods, packet pilots also bought wood, fish, pot iron, and charcoal from locals, and sold them lumber and ship supplies.
Historic Site: Yes
Boat Launch: No
Hours: Bridge is always open.
Parking: No public parking.
Trail Difficulty: No trails.
Boat Ramp: No
ADA Access: No
Scenic Views: Yes