Memorial Bridge marks 100 years over the Connecticut River

It’s a big day for one Springfield landmark. The Memorial Bridge celebrated its 100th birthday on Wednesday.
Published: Aug. 3, 2022 at 6:39 PM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - It’s a big day for one Springfield landmark. The Memorial Bridge celebrated its 100th birthday on Wednesday.

The concrete ribs and spires have stood as an iconic feature in downtown for the last century and thanks to a renovation project in the 1990′s, it is sure to be a Springfield icon for years to come.

“It’s something we don’t ever want to lose. It’s just too magnificent of a bridge,” said Spirit of Springfield President Judy Matt.

One Wilbraham resident reached out to Western Mass News and shared a photo hanging in his home, taken at the grand opening of the Memorial Bridge on August 3, 1922.

On Wednesday, we spoke to Matt, who organizes the Spirit of Springfield fireworks display that is set off over the bridge each Fourth of July holiday.

“We try to celebrate it every year when we do the Fourth of July. It’s so spectacular when those fireworks go off,” Matt added.

Her office window overlooks the landmark that’s been recognized nationally over the years.

“When we realized it was the hundredth anniversary, we just got a little tickled by it because we just think it’s one of the most beautiful bridges in America and it’s won many awards for that,” Matt explained.

In 1996, Matt served as the co-chair of the rededication of the bridge after a renovation project that spanned several years was completed to renovate the bridge and keep it standing as a Springfield icon moving forward.

“I remember we had the bishop at the time, the adjutant general at the time, a concert band from the Army because everybody wanted to celebrate this magnificent bridge…It was the hottest day I could ever recall, but we did justice to it and that’s the important thing,” Matt said.

That ceremony was held under Mike Albano’s administration as mayor and the fireworks display hasn’t always been held at the bridge. Matt said that tradition started about 30 years ago and she’s hopeful it will remain here for decades to come.