For Whom the Bridge Tolls
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Written by SeacoastNH Archive

Woman by the tol gate /SeacoastNH.comSeacoastNH.com Presents
Historic Portsmouth #367

If you think Portsmouth has bridge problems today, turn the clock back to the late 1800s when Major David Urch owned the toll bridge connecting New Castle to Portsmouth. Originally there were ferries connecting “Great Island” to the mainland on land once-owned by the Shapleigh family. (Continued below with photo)

Urch built a private bridge and charged a fee to cross it, a key access to the new Wentworth by the Sea hotel. Then he added roadside attractions including a picnic area, a floating aquarium and museum. Urch offered entertainment including a water slide and a horse that jumped into the river. Aquarium visitors got a free pass to cross the wooden bridge, seen here from the New Castle side looking toward Portsmouth. Urch also invented the “jitney” car that ran along a track and the “marine bicycles” that could be rented from this location. A new bridge became a public roadway in the 1920s. The house is currently for sale. (Courtesy Portsmouth Athenaeum)

New Castle to Portsmouth Toll Bridge (c0 Portsmouth Athenaeum

BONUS CLOSE-UP
Mystery woman and dog with Urch Aquarium in background

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BONUS: POSTCARDS OF NEW CASTLE TOLL BRIDGE

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