ACADIA NAT’L PARK — When the Duck Brook Motor Bridge was completed in 1953, connecting the Park Loop Road with the Hull’s Cove Visitors Center, the view of the structure looking up the ravine from Route 3 was clear.
The Fire of 1947 had cleared the hillside, so motorists entering Bar Harbor had a full view of the beautiful new span carrying the Paradise Hill section of the Park Loop Road over Duck Brook. In the years since, the trees have grown enough to nearly obscure the view of the bridge, even in the winter.
Now, a Georgia woman whose father was a supervisor in the bridge construction is petitioning park officials to maintain the landscape around it in a way that will restore the view from Route 3 in Bar Harbor.
Therese Marshall was very young when her father, Avon Klotz, worked for Harold MacQuinn Construction Company on the bridge project.
“I thought my family, future generations wouldn’t know about the bridge,” Marshall said. She commissioned a painting by Robert Hagberg and photos by George Soules. She started a website and a Facebook page, “The Forgotten Bridge of Acadia,” collecting stories and photos from other families with connections to the project.
“Our father, Avon Robert Klotz, and mother, Josephine Mary Kane [of Bar Harbor], had met in Washington, D.C., where both worked in the Pentagon during WWII,” Marshall wrote on her website. “When the war was over, they returned to Bar Harbor. Driving on Route 3 into Bar Harbor, my parents would say, ‘Look to the right. It’s coming up. There it is!’
“We were talking about ‘Dad’s bridge,’ formally known as Duck Brook Motor Bridge, Paradise Hill Road.”
The bridge is a piece of her family history, she said, as important as her parents’ headstones at Holy Redeemer Cemetery. “I always had the feeling that other people felt the same way.”
That hunch has been confirmed in her work on this project. On a recent visit here, she got talking with staff at the Quimby House where she was staying. They, too, had relatives involved in the bridge construction.
The bridge is the largest of its kind – poured concrete arched deck construction – east of the Mississippi. John D. Rockefeller Jr. began discussions with the National Park Service leadership in the 1930s, but construction was delayed until after World War II. Rockefeller reportedly wanted a stone-faced bridge, consistent with the design of the other bridges in the park, and offered to cover the extra expense.
There are 17 bridges in the park, and only three are visible from a motor road. Most of the historic vistas the park works to maintain are views from roads and bridges, but Marshall argues the view into the park at Duck Brook should also be preserved.
“They wouldn’t have faced it with granite if they didn’t want it to be seen,” Marshall said.
Marshall also has been meeting with park officials and advocacy groups as part of her effort to have the vista cleared.