About Charles River Bridges
As the official divider between Boston and Cambridge, the Charles’ bridges function as the connections for walkers, bicyclists, drivers, and T-riders making the voyage from one city to the other. The bridges vary in age from 17th century constructions to modern additions. Below we discuss each of these access points.
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The Longfellow Bridge
Opened in 1906 and was originally called The Cambridge Bridge, the Longfellow Bridge connects the Back Bay area of Boston to Cambridge near Kendall Square. It is one of the more famous Charles River bridges.
- Locals nicknamed it the “Salt and Pepper Bridge” due to the architecture of its towers. The bridge is used by both rail and car traffic.
The Harvard Bridge
It’s the longest bridge over the Charles, running 660 meters in length. The bridge was first constructed in 1891, but has since been reconstructed three times – in 1909, 1924, and 1990.
The Boston University Bridge
(BU Bridge for short) is perhaps one of the easiest recognized of Cambridge’s bridges. Covered in colorful and eye-catching graffiti, the BU Bridge was first built in 1928. Originally called the Cottage Farm Bridge, it was named for the University in 1949.
The River Street Bridge
This bridge connects Cambridge to the Allston neighborhood of Boston.
Replacing a bridge from 1810, this 1925 construction was done by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and carries traffic in one direction – from Allston into Cambridge. T
he current bridge has three arches, resembling the Pont Neuf in Paris.
Carrying traffic going in the opposite direction from the River Street Bridge – from Cambridge into Allston – the Western Avenue bridge was built in 1924.
Built in 1927 to carry traffic to the new site of Harvard Business School’s campus in Allston from its original location in Cambridge, the Weeks footbridge was named for John W. Weeks, a Massachusetts Senator and U.S. Secretary of War during the Harding and Coolidge administrations.
The Anderson Memorial Bridge
This bridge stands on the site of the Great Bridge – the first structure to span the Charles (built in 1662).
Today, the Anderson Memorial bridge which was finished in 1910 and brings Boston traffic into Harvard Square, is often incorrectly called the Larz Anderson bridge. In fact, the bridge was donated by Larz in his father, Nicholas Anderson’s, memory.
Built in 1950 as a memorial to Harvard’s president from 1869-1909, Mr. Charles W. Eliot, and his son Charles Eliot, a landscape architect. The bridge connects Soldier’s Field Road in Allston to Cambridge.