New Portland is in the Maine woods, about half way between Bangor and the Canadian border. Only about 725 people live there, and every one of them could probably point you to their showpiece – the old Wire Bridge.
This unique structure traverses the Carrabassett River carrying sojourners (likely in only one car at a time) into the West Village of New Portland. Known as the Wire Bridge, it is the only one of its kind left in Maine, and very likely the only one left in the United States (can’t speak for the rest of the world). The origins of the bridge are a bit cloudy, its history back a little further than the town’s financial records show. But it’s clear that by 1866 New Portland had one of four such bridges built around this time in Maine, with timber-on-granite tower structures at each end, a wooden plank roadbed in the middle, and cables (or “wires” – hence the name) holding everything up.
The other three wire bridges have since been torn down and replaced, and bits of this one has been restored and preserved over the years. The planks of the roadbed have been replaced at least once, but it’s still the same wire holding everything together. Between those 198 feet are timbers and towers that have carried 150 years of horses, carriages, Model T’s, pick-ups and minivans through the splendor of deep woods Maine. And as far as anyone can tell, it’s the only one of its kind left.
Know Before You Go
Follow the signs off Rte 146 in North New Portland, you will eventually come to Wire Bridge Rd.