Roadways


According to McChesney, there are records that indicate that between the time Ludlow was settled (around 1751) and its incorporation (1774) there were at least two roadways that ran through the town. Both of these roadways were sections of Hampshire County highways since at the time Ludlow was a part of Hampshire County. McChesney also details the paths that these roads took through Ludlow. The first one went from Enfield, Massachusetts (disincorporated in 1938 for the Quabbin Reservoir) and to Chicopee in 1754. This road ran through the northwestern part of town along the approximate course of what are Brooke and Tilley Streets today (both off of West Street near Granby). The second road went from Northampton to Wilbraham and was built later in 1770. This road ran through much more of the town than the first one, running east to west from about where Holyoke Street is today and following a path similar to present day Chapin Street to the Chicopee River where some sort of ford made crossing the Chicopee River into Wilbraham possible. The records of this road also mentioned intersecting two cart paths on its route, one running from Chicopee to Belchertown and the second from Millers to Aaron Parsons (their exact route is unknown). In addition to the main roadways there was also mention of a roadway that branched off of the road constructed in 1770. This road apparently branched off of the main road near the present intersection of Chapin and Center and followed a Northerly path similar to present day Fuller and Rood Streets up to the Granby line. Two interesting facts that McChesney also notes about these roads is that they were very wide for the time at 66 feet wide (measured as four rods) and that many taverns were also created in Ludlow along these roads, indicating that they were well travelled.

After the Town was incorporated in 1774, roads in Ludlow were constructed much more rapidly. Munsing, Miller, Fuller, Church, and Lyon Streets can all be traced back to 1776 where they existed in some form or another. In 1782 a road called Cherry Valley Road was built from Belchertown to the Center of Ludlow that followed what is presently West Side Drive and Center Street. Today West Side Drive is a part of the paved road on the Western side of the Springfield Reservoir. There is a point on the northern side of the reservoir where the pavement turns to the East but an unpaved path continues to the north; the unpaved path is the continuation of the original road built in 1782 and does connect to Ludlow Street in Belchertown. There is also another small branch off of this street just after the pavement ends that runs easterly up a hill. Both West Side Drive and the small road that branches off of it have several foundations of varying houses off into the woods a little ways, including the foundation for the District 7 School House. In 1782 the town of Ludlow also decided to build a bridge over Cedar Swamp and connect present day Church Street to Center Street. This would prove to be more difficult than originally thought as throughout nearly the entire history of the town, there was always some problem with the part of the road crossing Cedar Swamp that required repair. During the 1800s many more roads were constructed as the town grew. Moore Street was constructed in 1801, Tilley Street in 1814 and West Street was constructed in three stages from 1852 to 1866. After 1866 the main roads in town had all been constructed and remain much the same to this day.

Although it is not known for sure which Ludlow resident had the first automobile in Ludlow, McChesney credits Dr. James Hannum with the honor. Dr. Hannum is said to have driven a single cylinder Knox motor car (model year said to be around 1904). This car was also said to have three wheels, a steering tiller, and a starting crank on the side. Knox Automobile Company manufactured its automobiles in Springfield from 1900 to 1914, at which time it focused on farm equipment and did so until 1924 when it became defunct. Many of the first automobiles in Ludlow were also made by Knox, including the first delivery truck in Ludlow, although there were also several other early vehicles purchased by residents such as a Franklin, a Scripps-Booth, and a Metz. When the Ford Model T came about in 1915, automobile use continued to increase and in 1925, the Police Department got its first patrol car, an Overland touring car. The first intersection in town to get automatic traffic lights was the intersection of Chapin and East Street in 1971.


Bridges

Put's Bridge

Put's Bridge in 1897

This bridge is located on the southern border of Ludlow and connects to the Indian Orchard section of Springfield. One of the earliest goals of Ludlow residents was to place a bridge at this spot to connect to Springfield and the first well documented bridge was completed in 1794 by Eli Putnam. There were reports of an earlier bridge existing in the same spot in 1788 although there is little information on it and in 1792 Noon suggested that it had become a river craft. Putnams bridge (the first real Put's bridge) was a toll bridge and lasted until 1801 although the reason for its demise is not known. In 1804 another bridge was constructed by Parsons Clap and Abner Putnam to replace the previous bridge, although it only lasted a short while as did yet another bridge that was constructed in 1812 to replace it. This new covered bridge was called the Cooley Bridge after a Captain Cooley from Springfield who created it. The Cooley Bridge was unlike the previous bridges, it was not a straight bridge but instead ran to a pier in the river and then angled downstream making it impossible to see the other end from inside the bridge. Finally in 1822, Cooley Bridge was replaced with a straight covered bridge, which was once again named Put's Bridge. This bridge would last until 1898 when it was replaced by an iron bridge as the main timbers had become weak. The new iron bridge was built upstream alongside its older wooden counterpart and was elevated so as not to interfere with the Ludlow Manufacturing Company's railroad tracks and dam. This bridge lasted until 1930 when it was demolished for the construction of the current bridge.

Greene-Towne Bridge

Collins Bridge in 1937

The location of this bridge is at the end of present day Miller Street in the south east of the town and connects to Wilbraham. Although many Ludlow residents who lived in the eastern portion of the town wanted a bridge here, it is not known when a bridge was first built, although there are records of a bridge existing before 1850. This bridge was said to have been wiped out by a flood and in 1852 a new covered bridge was opened in its place. It was named the Collins Bridge after a train depot in Wilbraham and lasted until the Hurricane of 1938 washed it away. After this a steel bridge was constructed in its place and was named in memory of two selectmen (Fred Greene of Wilbraham and Frank Towne of Ludlow) although some may still prefer to call it the Collins Bridge.

Red Bridge

This Bridge is located at the east of town at the end of East Street and also connects to Wilbraham. The date of construction of the first bridge at this location is also not known except that there was a bridge here before 1832. In 1837 the bridge was replaced with an entirely new covered bridge that was painted red (hence the name). This bridge lasted until 1900 at which point the Ludlow Manufacturing Company replaced it with an iron bridge so that they could carry heavy loads into Wilbraham to construct a dam and power station to power the mills. This bridge was replaced in 1937 with the current bridge due to damage from a flood the previous year.

Veterans' Memorial Bridge

This bridge is currently located at the Southwest of the town at the end of West Street in Ludlow and connects to Springfield. Unlike the other locations where bridges stand today, this location never saw a covered bridge only iron bridges. The first bridge was built in 1866 and lasted until 1921 when a truck broke through the flooring of the bridge and a new bridge was built. This new bridge was another victim of the 1938 Hurricane and was replaced with the current steel bridge. The bridge was named the Veterans' Memorial Bridge in honor of those who lost their lives in World War I.


Railroads

Boston and Albany Railroad, Athol Branch

Construction of the first railroad through Ludlow began in 1873 and was finished in that same year. This railway was an extension of an existing railroad that ran from Athol to a place called Barrett's Junction. The new extension brought the railroad into Springfield, through Ludlow. Originally called the Athol and Enfield Railroad, it was reorganized as the Springfield, Athol and Northeastern Railroad once the extension was completed and later became the Athol Branch when purchased by the Boston and Albany Railroad in 1880. This railroad had three stops in Ludlow once completed, one at Sewall Street, one at the Greene-Towne Bridge (Collins Bridge at the time), and one at Red Bridge. The trains, powered by steam, would carry both freight and passengers and was often used to transport people to Springfield in the morning, returning them each night. There was also an electric car service at the time that went to Springfield and back but the trains were apparently more comfortable and more reliable in the winter snow. This railroad was extensively used to bring in many different supplies and resources such as grapes for wine, coal, grains, and the Ludlow Manufacturing Company payroll. This railroad continued to operate and serve the town until the late 1930s when the increasing use of automobiles and the completion of the Quabbin Reservoir made it obsolete (towns along its route were abandoned for the construction of the reservoir). The Sewall Street station was torn down in 1960 and all of the rails are now inactive, although for a time they were still used for switching cars between Springfield and Ludlow.

Hampden Railroad

In 1913, the Hampden Railroad was completed with the goal of connecting the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad with the Boston and Maine Railroad creating a direct route between Boston and New York (previously the Boston and Albany Railroad' tracks had to be used). The construction of this track necessitated the construction of ten bridges in Ludlow to overpass streets, a large amount of fill to be placed, and a cut to be made through Minnechaug Mountain. A station was also built on the eastern side of Center Street between White Street and what is today the Mass Pike. After construction was complete the only train to ever travel the railroad made its run, it was the inspection train carrying the officials and supporters of the Railroad. The State never approved of a lease needed to operate the tracks and in 1926 the entire railroad was sold off as salvage. Today the path once used by the Hampden Railroad is used by the Mass Pike from the border with Chicopee to where the Pike bends to the south over East Street. Other portions were bought by the predecessor of WMECO (United Electric Light Company) to use as power distribution paths.