Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Thanksgiving Tukey

Maine Strangeness may be found in the least-expected crevasses and corners of our dear State, even (and surely) among documents and archives. A small detail may draw our glimpse- such as it does, at the Portland Public Library, this time in the Portland Room's map collection.

Indeed, though many Miles from Standish, notwithstanding Pilgrimage nor Courtship, and far from Plymouth (having Forded no water beside that of Back Cove), we are replete with Thanksgiving for the stuffing that now brings Tukey's Bridge to our feasting table. And that's no gobbledy gook!

While conserving an 1871 map of Portland, printed by F.W. Beers (in New York, take note), a modest detail caught the attention of the Archivist...
(Photos can be clicked to be enlarged)

...first in the smaller map, giving the layout and legend of the following larger maps, and...


...then in the detailed map, the name of Tukey's Bridge- a name that has existed from 1796 and continues today...

...has been printed throughout the Beers Atlas as Turkey's Bridge. An anomaly we have not seen on any other map of the city- old or new.


Just below is a picture, correctly labeled, as printed by the City of Portland, for the 1897 Municipal Annual Report, showing how the bridge appeared in its era as a swing-bridge which allowed passage for the city's trolleys and traffic between Munjoy Hill and East Deering.

John Tukey was among the settlers in the Portland region when, in 1744, it was still known as Falmouth. Tukey was a shipwright, and among his 14 children, all born in Portland, was William Tukey who had been among the builders of the Portland Head Light, the first lighthouse built in Maine.




Here is the present manifestation of the bridge, still as ever known as Tukey's Bridge. Above is a view from Munjoy Hill and below, a view from Baxter Boulevard.

And, finally, a detail from a new map...

(The "R" has been correctly (and thankfully) dropped- something that rarely happens in Maine??)



4 comments:

The Native Tourist said...

I had no idea the bridge went back that far, nor who the hell Tukey was. Nice digging. Great work!

sandra davis said...

I am a direct decendant of John Tukey, and have heard about this bridge all of my life. thank you for posting the correct spelling of our family name.

Tim Scherman said...

Just north of Tukey's bridge was the home of Maine writers Seba Smith and Elizabeth Oakes Smith. Ms. Ruth Trappan, who studied the Cushing and Prince families for years, left a box of notes behind at her death, now in the Yarmouth History Center, one scrap of which is a sketch of this home that was pictured in a newspaper (poorly printed) in 1923. DOES ANYONE HAVE IMAGES of this particular area north of Tukey's Bridge before 1923? DOES ANYONE KNOW when the house there was torn down? I don't think the land was taken by 295 until the mid 20th century.

Tim Scherman said...

Just answered my own question about an image of Tukey's Bridge. There's one on the Maine Memory Network from 1900. NOW if we could only figure out which of the houses on that north end (quite visible when you zoom in on the north end here) was the Smith home. http://www.mainememory.net/artifact/20248/zoom