City receives grant to study restoration of Sands Bridge

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METHUEN — The Methuen Historical Commission was awarded a $1,750 matching grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Eastern Massachusetts Preservation Fund.

The grant will be used to fund a feasibility study by the Dry Stone Conservancy, Inc. on the stabilization and restoration of the Sands Bridge, an 1835 double arch dry stone bridge off Hampshire Road near the Methuen-Salem border.

The Study represents the first step in a preservation initiative to restore the bridge.

The Sands Bridge, originally called the London Bridge, is a mortarless stone arch bridge constructed in 1835 to replace an earlier wooden bridge. It spanned the Spicket River on the historic Dracut Path connecting Haverhill and Dracut, now known as Hampshire Road. Dry stone bridges were common in 18th and 19th century New England, but few survive today. The Sands Bridge is a rare example of a double arch dry stone bridge that carried traffic well into the 20th century.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, chartered by Congress in 1949, is committed to saving America’s diverse environments and to preserving and revitalizing the livability of communities nationwide.