Echo Bridge from the north
|Location:||Spans the Charles River between Needham and Newton, Massachusetts|
|Architectural style:||No Style Listed|
|NRHP Reference#:||80000638 |
|Added to NRHP:||April 9, 1980|
Echo Bridge was built to carry the Sudbury Aqueduct over the Charles River from Needham to Newton Upper Falls, Massachusetts. The aqueduct was constructed to carry water from the Sudbury River to Boston. Construction of Echo Bridge began in 1875 and was completed in 1877 by Boston Water Works (BWW), predecessor to the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority. At the time, it was the second longest masonry arch in the country. The bridge was named an American Water Landmark in 1981. On April 9, 1980, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. The bridge is located in the Hemlock Gorge Reservation.
The aqueduct is no longer used for regular water delivery, but is maintained as a reserve backup.
National Register listing
- Echo Bridge
- (added 1980 – Structure – #80000638)
- Spans Charles River, Newton
- Historic Significance: Architecture/Engineering, Event
- Architect, builder, or engineer: Phelps, George W.
- Architectural Style: No Style Listed
- Area of Significance: Architecture, Conservation, Engineering, Community Planning And Development
- Period of Significance: 1875–1899
- Owner: State
- Historic Function: Transportation
- Historic Sub-function: Water-Related
- Current Function: Vacant/Not In Use, Historical/Recreational
The bridge crosses over Hemlock Gorge where the Charles River passes over the fall line in Newton Upper Falls. There are still old mill buildings in view from the bridge, but most of the gorge remains naturally overgrown with hemlocks. The bridge has two viewing locations, the pedestrian walk on top of the bridge and a platform underneath where visitors can hear the eponymous echoes. Views include white water, a waterfall and the hemlock-lined gorge. The 23-acre (93,000 m2) Hemlock Gorge Reservation including the gorge is maintained by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation.
The bridge is located just off Route 9 where it crosses Route 128. Despite being in the midst of a tangle of highways (a major interchange of the Massachusetts Turnpike is also nearby), the river itself is tree-lined and natural.
Echo Bridge underwent extensive renovations in 2006 and was closed to the public for much of the year; it has been reopened.
The aqueduct was reactivated during a state of emergency declared on May 1, 2010. The line was used to carry clean water to parts of 38 communities affected by a catastrophic failure elsewhere in the MWRA system.
- The Friends of Hemlock Gorge
- Hemlock Gorge Reservation
- Echo Bridge at Structurae
- U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Echo Bridge