Dedication of the Memorial Bridge Page #2
Portsmouth, NH to Kittery, ME
August 17, 1923
Eileen Dondero, whose mother would also become mayor of Portsmouth, clips the silk ribbon to open the Memorial Bridge on August 17, 1923.
Clip! The ribbon is cut and the communities are joined. Mayor for 16 years, Eileen Foley had kept a piece of the silk ribbon seen here, but loaned it to a NH Senator who lost it and her only photo of the event.
Before the Memorial Bridge, state to state traffic was slow and required either a toll at the lower Portsmouth Bridge on Market Street, or a ferry ride across the Piscataqua. For the first time, NH workers at the burgeoning naval shipyard in Kittery, Maine could easily arrive from New Hampshire. The result was and remains, a great source of controversy over taxation of shipyard workers.
The $2 million project required changes on both sides of the river including controversy over which era soldiers to honor and the destruction of houses that lay in the path of the new approach to the bridge.
Here they come. Crowds waited on both side for the first moment they could cross the bridge which had been under construction for three years. Crowds from both sides surged onto the bridge trying to be the first to reach the other side, while motor traffic lined up for two miles.
The crowds race across the bridge. This action image has never been seen in print, captured by Pathe News cameras and rediscovered at the Portsmouth Public Library in the 1970s.