Personal Accounts and Memories of the North River Bridge

A rattling bridge
“You always had the rattle of the planks when you went across.  It was a steel bridge, wooden planks on the floor but the wooden planks would come loose and they would rattle like a train.  When you were going across the planks would be loose.”15 - Shared by Don Lowther

Tide flow
“When they put the causeway in they put in a mechanism that when the tide came up the gates shut, so it was only the water flowing out (the northern part was fresh water) but it got so bad with pollutants that they had to take the gates out and open it up so there could be a full tide flow.”16 – Shared by Buddy MacKinley

A scary experience
“There was a bridge and there was only one way traffic on it at first.  That was kinda scary.  If you seen someone coming across the bridge you’d have to wait until they got across.  There was this one fellow coming home and he was pretty drugged up he came over the bridge and we were on the other side.  We were on the bridge and he came over the other side, it was kinda scary.  He got by.”17 – Shared by Reta Beer

The following transcript was taken from Dutch Thompsons interview with Cornwall resident, the late Louis MacDonald.  Louis’s homestead was located across the highway from Eliot River School.

“Huey Walker, where Ron MacKinley lives, he had big heavy horses see and he was comin’ out from town. Clop.  Clop.  And there was a fella in a car on this end waitin’ for him and when Huey got up he said to Huey ‘do you own that bridge?’ and you know this was ‘By God’ Huey says ‘Do you own that car?!’ and it was likely he didn’t!”

DT – (laughs) “My soul”

LM – “Well look when the wind was east you could hear a horse and wagon crossin’ the North River bridge”

DT – “All the way up here?!”

LM – “Yeah and you know the bells, the chimes at St. Dunstan’s basilica well I’d go fishing up here up Clyde River quite a piece from here, on kinda misty with a little east wind I could hear them”

DT – “My soul. Tell me something, just when ya mention that, would you be able to tell whose horse was coming by the sound of their sleigh bells”

LM – “Oh to a certain extent but ah over at a you know where the Dutch Inn is? Well MacKinley lived there and his wife was a sister of ah Lee Howard’s father, he was a man that had a beard and he had a truck wagon and his sister heard him crossin’ the North River bridge see probably could know the (pause) and she went down to the road and he had got the beard shaved off in town so he never let on he recognized her he just drove right by she became frantic called home what happened to her father”

DT – “Because it was his horse and wagon”

LM – “Well yes it was his horse and wagon and here was this strange man but that wasn’t as bad as the fella that went to town he had an old pair of over-alls you know and his wife was naggin’ him, ‘why don’t ya get new over-all why don’t.’ Naggin’ him.  So he went whole hog he went in and he bought a new pair of over-alls, the whole thing, underwear and everything and he got out I dunno know North River but anyhow he got out in kind of a secluded spot and he pulled in along the water and he took the clothes off and threw them into the River see and he then reached into the wagon see for the new clothes and they weren’t there.  (Dutch and Louis laugh)  Threw everything! And I guess he had no rugs er it’d be summer time there was nothin’ ta”

DT – “And what did he do, how did he get home?”

LM – “Well he got home however he did he got home anyhow I never heard him dyin’ on the way home” (Dutch laughing)18
 

In Partnership with