A Bridge Named for a Rock That Was Claimed for a King

What is pretty much the truth. I find bridges fascinating. They are works of art that function. Some span small rivers some large rivers. All are carrying busy people over hazardous water. Some are quaint  like covered bridges. Some are scary like suspension bridges. Some make u feel like you are flying or floating. And some bridges are simply spectacular like the French King Bridge below.


french king bridge, rock, france, new france, rapids, massachusetts, mohawk trail
Click any pic to magnify
The original bridge was built in 1932 and was a three arch span. It was part of a new highway rerouting part of the Mohawk Trail which originally wound through several small villages.

As this post's lengthy title goes, the French King Bridge  was named for a rock that sits just upstream. At times this rock is underwater but mostly it is exposed. Although, it's not as exposed as u see in the lower back&white postcard. The reason for the water fluctuation is from a dam not to far down river that produces electricity. The antique postcard photo shows rapids and was lost likely shot before the hydroelectric dam was built.where the rock is located I have never seen the water level that low. The rock also serves as a survey point as the borders of three towns. Gill, Erving and Northfield converge there.

french king bridge, rock, france, new france, rapids, massachusetts, mohawk trailMany legends have grown telling of  how the Rock got its name, for which the French King Highway and Bridge are named.

One legend is that party of Indians under command of a French Officer came down the Connecticut River on a scouting expedition. They reached the Rock which was at the beginning of a dangerous rapid. just at nightfall. Not caring to attempt the rapids at dark they camped on the west bank of the river.

The commanding officer was much impressed by the rock. It was the most conspicuous object he had encountered on the expedition, for at that time it stood probably eighteen feet out of the water. Thinking it would be a good point of reference not only for his reports, but also for future explorations he decided to take formal possession of it in the name of the French King, Louis XIV.
french king bridge, rock, france, new france, rapids, massachusetts, mohawk trail
Photo: Doug Peabody

It is fascinating to know that the French flag once flew here in Massachusetts.
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