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Our beautiful backyard: The Bridge of Flowers

  • A bee gathers pollen from an echinacea flower on the Bridge of Flowers on a recent summer day. August 8, 2007. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz—Paul Franz

  • Pollinators are out in full force on the Bridge of Flowers. August 8, 2007. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz—Paul Franz

  • Lilies bloom on the Bridge of Flowers with the Iron Bridge in the background. August 8, 2007. ecorder Staff/Paul Franz—Paul Franz

  • A family pauses on the Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne Falls to take a family photo on a recent summer day. Below, a local pollinator doing its thing. Below right, lilies are blooming with the Iron Bridge in the background. Recorder Staff photos/Paul Franz



Recorder Staff
Thursday, August 10, 2017

The Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne Falls is awash with color this time of year. We are lucky to have this piece of perennial beauty and history to enjoy in our own “backyard” and we should not hesitate to take a break and slowly stroll the flower bed over the Deerfield River.

Thousands of bulbs, perennials, annuals and flowering shrubs come into bloom over the course of the year. According to The Bridge of Flowers Committee’s website, The Bridge of Flowers was once a trolley bridge built in 1908 by the Shelburne Falls & Colrain Street Railway. As the nearby Iron Bridge had only a 20-ton weight limit, the five-span, 400-foot concrete arched trolley bridge, connecting the towns of Shelburne and Buckland, was constructed to help deliver heavy freight from the Shelburne Falls railyard to the mills on the 7½-mile line along Route 112 North to Colrain, as well as passengers and local goods, such as milk, apples and cotton.

The trolley was a “social and commercial connection” to area residents at that time. The railway company, however, was unable to keep up with progress, such as the invention of the automobile, as goods began to be hauled by truck and the company eventually went bankrupt in 1927.

The Shelburne Falls Women’s Club sponsored this project in 1928. In April 1929, 80 loads of loam and several loads of fertilizer were put on the bridge, all by donated labor. The Women’s Club and other organizations in town raised $1,000 in the early spring of 1929. And to this day, a small army of volunteers continue to weed, plant, trim, and do whatever is needed to keep those beautiful flowers blooming.