Bailey Island Bridge (Cribstone Bridge) – Harpswell, Maine - Atlas Obscura

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Bailey Island Bridge (Cribstone Bridge)

Harpswell, Maine

An unusually designed bridge from the 1920s was built to withstand the tides and winds of Maine. 


Just the shore of Harpswell are 200 islands, including Bailey Island and Orr’s Island. Until 1928, the only way to get from one island to the other was by boat. Locals asked for a bridge to be constructed, and they got one unlike any other in the world.

The bridge was built without any cement, only long, narrow slabs of granite. They were stacked atop each other in criss cross fashion, with spaces in between. This unusual design allowed tide to ebb and flow through the cribwork, while the granite was heavy enough to remain in place despite the force of wind and water even without any mortar holding it together.

Bailey Island Bridge, or Cribstone Bridge as it’s sometimes called, remains the only bridge connecting Bailey Island and Orr’s Island. In 2009 a reconstruction process shut down the bridge for some time, but it was reopened in 2010, repaired with granite from the very quarry it had been built from in the ’20s. Locals are intensely proud of their uncommonly constructed bridge. It has stood the test of time, and appears as a symbol for the island, appearing on signs and souvenirs.

Know Before You Go

Travel on Route 24 south of Cook's Corner. The bridge is approximately 13 miles down the road. There is a sidewalk, but the two-lane roadway is rather thin, so bigger vehicles may want to take caution before crossing.

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May 2, 2017

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