Uncle Tim’s Bridge

Wellfleet, Massachusetts
Uncle Tim’s Bridge in Wellfleet, Massachusetts is a cherished and picturesque structure on Cape Cod. It is beloved by visitors and tourists.
Location Added By:

Table of Contents

About This Location

Uncle Tim’s Bridge, a cherished and picturesque structure on Cape Cod, holds a special place in the hearts of both locals and photographers who appreciate its beauty. This historic bridge gracefully spans Duck Creek in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, and its origins date all the way back to 1783. Originally, it was constructed to provide residents of what was then known as Physic Point with a more direct route to reach the village of Wellfleet, avoiding the longer journey on old County Road where Main Street now branches off Route 6. Initially, the bridge was simply referred to as “The New Bridge.”

The bridge later earned its endearing name due to its location at the Commercial Street end, right in front of Timothy Daniel’s general store and ship chandlery. Timothy Daniel, known affectionately as Uncle Tim, was a prominent figure in the community. He operated the general store, served as a tour guide, and was an avid fisherman, endearing himself to many residents. His close connection to the town and the warmth he exuded led to the decision to name the bridge after him. He became known as Uncle Tim because he was like family to so many.

For well over a century, Uncle Tim’s Bridge served as a vital link for the townspeople. However, the bridge faced numerous challenges over the years, including storms, high tides, and general wear and tear that gradually took a toll on its structure. As a result, the bridge had to be rebuilt twice—first in 1908 and then again in 1973.

A significant milestone in the bridge’s history occurred on August 21, 1989, when it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. It was included in the Wellfleet Center Historic District listing, marking a momentous honor for both the town and the bridge itself. Inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places is a prestigious recognition that ensures the location’s proper preservation, allowing future generations to enjoy and learn about its rich history. The reference number for the historic district is 89001147.

After the 1973 replacement, the bridge faced severe decay and was in need of repair by the early 2000s. In 2003, the Town of Wellfleet commissioned Environmental Partners to conduct a structural inspection, revealing various components in need of replacement, including piles, bents, and decking. Additionally, soft rot decay was detected in these elements, and the railing system was unstable and posed risks to pedestrians. Initially, a selective spot replacement of certain elements was recommended. However, following discussions with local authorities and stakeholders, a decision was made to undertake a complete replacement while preserving the bridge’s historic appearance.

The bridge replacement project involved several years of planning and collaboration with local agencies, departments, and community members to ensure that the new bridge remained true to its historic context. Construction commenced in 2008, beginning after Labor Day and concluding within just six weeks. The project was carefully timed to coincide with tide cycles, and efforts were made to minimize any negative impacts on the creek ecosystem and adjacent wetlands.

Uncle Tim’s Bridge now stands as a 300-foot-long and 6-foot-wide timber stringer bridge, preserving its historic charm while meeting modern safety and structural standards. Today, the bridge continues to be a popular attraction in Wellfleet, drawing visitors year-round to enjoy its stunning views and the unique walking and hiking trails near Duck Creek, leading to beaches along the harbor.

For those planning to visit Uncle Tim’s Bridge, there is a convenient dirt parking lot located just a short distance from the bridge, situated off East Commercial Street. Additional parking options can be found at the fish pier and on Main Street, making access to this beloved and historic landmark easily accessible for all. Furthermore, parking is free, welcoming visitors to experience the bridge’s enduring beauty and rich history.

Location

Address: East Commercial Street, Wellfleet, Massachusetts
Place GPS Coordinates: 41.937333, -70.028194
Parking GPS Coordinates: 41.937333, -70.028194
Parking Notes: There is a small dirt parking lot located just a few hundred feet from the bridge. The lot is just off East Commercial Street. Additional parking can be found at the fish pier and on Main Street too.

Place Location:

Parking Location:

Reviews

There are no reviews yet. Be the first one to write one.