New Bedford Historical Perspectives: When a fee was required to cross “The Bridge”

Would you use the New Bedford/Fairhaven bridge if you had to pay a toll or fee to cross it today? In the 19th century, one had to purchase a ticket to go back and forth between New Bedford and Fairhaven. Bringing your “horse” or car? That will be extra: triple the regular fee. Have some freight? That could cost you up to six times the foot passage fee.

Here is what it used cost to cross the bridge with the conversion into today’s money:

Want to cross “the bridge”? You ‘ll have to pay!

• 4 cents (.88) for each foot passenger.
• 6 cents ($1.25) for a foot passenger pushing a wheelbarrow or handcart.
• 6 additional cents for a dozen head of cattle, swine, horses, or sheep.
• 12 cents ($2.50) for each person and a horse.
• 18 cents for each sleigh drawn by one horse, and 6 cents for each additional horse.
• 36 cents for each coach, wagon or sled or other carriage of burden.

The lesson is that to save money, you should find another way to to get to Fairhaven if you are bringing your herd of cattle, swine, horses or sheep, or leave them home!

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