2009-06-25 / About Town

Exhibit marks 40th birthday of Pell Bridge

On Sunday, June 28, the Claiborne Pell Bridge will celebrate its 40th birthday. The Jamestown Historical Society will honor the event with an exhibit in its display case at the Jamestown Philomenian Library. Invitations to opening events, photographs of the construction and many different tokens used over the years are among the artifacts on display to tell the story of the bridge.

A series of articles, also on display, delves more deeply into the struggle to build the bridge. The “Battle of the Bridges” was a decades long debate over who would build and operate the Jamestown, Newport and Mt. Hope bridges.

Highlights of the exhibit include the many different proposals for how and where to build a connection between Newport and Jame stown, Mamie Eisenhower’s role in the Navy’s approval of an East Passage bridge, how Jamestowners voted in the referendums for a Narragansett Bay Bridge in 1960 and 1964, and how the new bridge affected Jamestown’s population, businesses, housing starts and schools.

The exhibit can be viewed during regular library hours. The Jame stown Historical Society is an allvolunteer organization dedicated to preserving, collecting and sharing island history and is a valuable resource for students, educators, historians and anyone interested in learning more about the area’s rich heritage. Call 423-0784 for more information.

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