Monday, September 01, 2008

A Brief History of Uncle Tim's Bridge ...

According to my stat counter, a frequent Internet search is Uncle Tim’s Bridge, which extends from Commercial Street to Cannon Hill. Uncle Tim’s Bridge is a special place for Sven and me because we were married at the foot of the bridge ten years ago. How beautiful it was there this morning! The wooden footbridge was constructed in 1844. For years, residents of South Wellfleet used it as a shortcut into town. David Wright of the Wellfleet Historical Society informed me that the structure was simply called “the bridge over Duck Creek” back then. No one called it Uncle Tim’s Bridge until the 1940s. And, yes. Uncle Tim did exist. He was one Timothy Daniels, a man who lived at the bottom of Whit’s Lane and supplied the ships that docked nearby. Mr. Daniels also took people out on fishing excursions and, quite the self-promoter, referred to himself as “Uncle Tim.” He died in 1893, but his name lives on.

Every dozen years or so, our beloved bridge needs repair of some kind. David told me that, at one point, the question arose of whether to keep the bridge open at all. Of course, the folks of Wellfleet voted with their hearts. The scenic bridge had already become a favorite destination, viewed with nostalgia by residents and non-residents alike. It is now time for a total makeover. Thanks to the Community Preservation Act and funds voted at Town Meeting, Uncle Tim’s Bridge will undergo reconstruction, starting tomorrow. Commercial Street, from Main Street to Whit’s Lane will be closed through Thursday while the contractor brings in equipment and materials. The bridge will not open to foot traffic until the work is completed in late October.