More than a bridge, this new sculptural pathway provides universal access to some of the most historic views in Boston.
There is more to preservation than keeping a historic resource intact. We preserve so that history can be experienced, lived in, observed, and appreciated. Historic places inspire us, educate us, and guide us to a better future. The Frances Appleton Bridge project represents this core understanding of preservation- it provides access and visibility to some of Boston’s most treasured historic resources and landscapes. Spanning from the iconic Beacon Hill historic district to the Landmarked Esplanade along the Charles River, this bridge provides universal access to all and creates a pathway for visiting these local treasures. With views to the Longfellow Bridge, users can imagine the bridges’ namesakes- poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow as he strolled across from Cambridge in the 1840s to court his future wife, Frances Appleton in Beacon Hill. From the bridge’s elegant curved walkways visitors have sightlines to the delightful petina of the Charles/MGH train station, the recently restored Longfellow Bridge, the beautiful Charles River, and the stunning streetscapes of Beacon Hill’s north slope.
The bridge consists of a contemporary tubular steel arch with a main span approximately 222’ long and 14’ wide. The pedestrian walkway is 550’ in length and was carefully designed to comply with ADA maximum slop requirements and to avoid large trees in the parkland while maximizing views. The sculptural curves and lightness of the bridge make it appear to float above the park space, and its Y shaped vertical supports mimic the adjacent trees. Aesthetic lighting complements the small pin lighting that illuminate the walking path, creating a destination even at night. This beautiful, delicate bridge enhances its historic setting while providing greater access and visibility to all users.
“Inserting new infrastructure such as a bridge into both a park and historic environment is no easy feat. Yet the new Appleton Bridge threads the needle with sculptural elegance. It provides universal access in the truest sense – welcoming all safely to and from the Esplanade while providing an evolving variety of viewpoints to the Charles, the Esplanade, the Longfellow Bridge, and the varied architecture of the city. The bridge demonstrates that infrastructure and artwork can be one and the same,” says Greg Galer, Executive Director of the Boston Preservation Alliance.
Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation
Rosales + Partners