About This Location
The Bridge of Flowers is an iconic footbridge in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts. It celebrates all things flowers and may be the only one of its kind in the world!
The bridge is located between the towns of Shelburne and Buckland. It spans 400 feet over the Deerfield River. The beautiful arch bridge was completed in 1908 and originally served as a trolley bridge. The Shelburne Falls and Colrain Street Railway had the concrete bridge built so it could move heavy freight loads in and out of Shelburne Falls. Over the following years, the rise of truck transportation began replacing trains. The Shelburne Falls and Colrain Street Railway company went bankrupt in 1927.
Over the years, the abandoned bridge became covered in weeds. Antoinette Burnham, a local homeowner, came up with the concept of turning the bridge into a garden in 1929. The town loved her plan because the bridge was not needed as a footbridge and could not be dismantled because it carried important water pipes between the two towns. The project was funded by the Shelburne Woman’s Club in 1928. Eighty loads of loam and many loads of fertilizer were sent to the bridge in 1929. Several women’s clubs in the area raised $1,000 to begin the project.
Shelburne Falls was the subject of a photographic study in 1975. The weakening of the bridge structure was one of the town’s concerns. In 1981, individuals who owned the bridge gathered funds and commissioned a study. According to the research, the bridge should be repaired for $580,000. Repairs began on May 2, 1983, after several organizations raised funds. Every plant that was removed was cared for separately during the restoration. The 8-inch water pipe, which can carry up to half a million gallons of water per day, was restored during the repair. At the top of the arches, there is two and a half feet of dirt, and the piers are nine feet deep.
The Bridge of Flowers is maintained on a daily basis by a group from the Shelburne Falls Area Women’s Club (SFAWC). The organization is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, and all of the participants are volunteers. Each member of the Bridge of Flowers Committee is in charge of a certain component of the bridge, such as maintenance, publicity, budgeting, and cooperation with local companies. The Committee meets once a month to arrange significant bridge-related activities, such as the yearly Plant Sale.
There is no charge to visit the bridge. Friends of the Bridge is an annual donating initiative run by the Bridge of Flowers Committee. A $25 donation qualifies a donor to become a Friend. The Bridge of Flowers is open April 1 through October 30th. From Bulb Season to Dahlia season!