Bridge of Names in Lake Pleasant reopens; construction and fundraising continue

  • Bill Jubinville and Luke Patenaude working for Dole Brothers Construction of Shelburne have been busy replicating the crushed end of the Bridge of Names in Lake Pleasant. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Donations are helping to rebuild the Bridge of Names in Lake Pleasant, which was damaged in a storm in October 2020. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Salvaged parts will be reused in the Bridge of Names in Lake Pleasant. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 4/29/2021 5:21:37 PM

LAKE PLEASANT — The Bridge of Names has reopened for the first time since October, when it was badly damaged in a storm and rendered unusable.

But construction is still underway, and the community continues to raise money to pay for the repairs.

“There’s more work to be done, but we’re very excited about the progress and the renovation of our bridge,” said Matt Atwood, president of the Lake Pleasant Village Association, a local residents’ group that owns and manages the Bridge of Names.

The Bridge of Names, built in the 1970s, is a local landmark of Lake Pleasant. Posts along the sides of the bridge are marked with the names of local residents who have contributed to support construction and maintenance over the years, giving the bridge its name.

It is also the most direct walking route between the two sides of the village of Lake Pleasant, which are separated by a ravine.

Last October, the structure was badly damaged in a storm, when trees and branches fell and crushed the western end of the bridge.

Montague town officials and the Lake Pleasant Village Association found that the bridge is not owned by the town, meaning that the town’s insurance policies would not cover the bridge’s repairs. Town Administrator Steve Ellis and the Selectboard also noted that, even though elected officials or Town Meeting voters may be willing to support the bridge, involvement from the town would create legal complications, and likely increase the cost of repairs.

Instead, the Lake Pleasant Village Association began raising money to fund the repairs itself. In January, the group announced that its fundraising was likely on track to pay for the repairs within 2021.

Construction began last week, and within a few days a new deck was in place, making the bridge usable again. The exact scope of the project and its timeline for completion are not totally clear, Atwood said.

Dole Brothers Construction of Shelburne was hired to rebuild the part of the bridge that was destroyed, which Atwood estimated to be about 10 or 20 percent of the whole bridge. Volunteer labor is expected to cover smaller parts of the project, he said. Notably, a small, roofed structure at the end of the bridge that was destroyed in the storm will likely be rebuilt by volunteers.

“The Bridge of Names is a unique landmark and a beautiful structure that unites the two sides of our village, and we are thrilled that our local community supports its reconstruction,” Atwood said.

Fundraising is expected to continue, he said.

The Mohawk Ramblers Motorcycle Club will donate proceeds from its Poker Run on May 22 to support the Bridge of Names.

T-shirts from the Lake Pleasant Village Association are expected to go on sale in mid-May to support the bridge, Atwood said.

Additionally, donations can be made through a GoFundMe page called “Bridge of Names Repairs” bit.ly/3nzPboA. As of Thursday, the GoFundMe had raised $10,168 from 95 donors.

Reach Max Marcus at mmarcus@recorder.com or 413-930-4231.


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