Red Bridge. Sixty years ago, just about everyone knew Red Bridge. There was a time when Red Bridge was the only way one could get over the Quinnipiac River and continue down Oregon Road. It has since been designated a historical site.
Not much attention was given to Red Bridge other than by the occasional motor vehicle or gang of kids hanging out on the bridge swimming and fishing. The old bridge did itself proud in surviving some of the wicked weather that we had back then. Its iron structure had become encased in rust, but out gang still hung out there.
The bridge was not designed for heavy vehicular traffic and only one vehicle at a time could use it. This was accomplished with common courtesy from the drivers. There’s not too much of that around today.
Back in the 1940s and even earlier by our older relatives, Red Bridge provided many recreational opportunities. About 100 yards above the bridge there was a huge tree that hung out over the Quinnipiac River. There was a swing hanging from it and we would swing out over the majestic Quinnipiac River and drop in for a cooling swim and head back to the shore for another swing.
Every once in a while during the summer we would receive a huge thunder storm that would make the river rise, and when you dropped in from the swing you had to let the current take you down to Red Bridge. We would grab on to its red stone abutment and climb out only to start the adventure all over again.
For years, Red Bridge continued to be used by some and ignored by others. In fact, there were some people who wanted to tear down Red Bridge so no one would have a memory of it and that would be that.
With the construction of Wilcox Tech and Platt High School and even Lincoln Junior High, vehicular traffic on Oregon Road demanded that something be done to enhance traffic. This resulted in the construction of another bridge just below Red Bridge and Red Bridge was left to rot away for the ages.
With little or no use at all, Red Bridge started to show its age with rusty iron works and a rotting floor bed (the original floor was made out of wood). And then something marvelous happened. The dire needs of Red Bridge came under the scrutiny of the Meriden Lions Club and especially past President Francis “Ziggy” Zygmont.
In the Meriden Lions Club, past presidents are allocated a sum of money to undertake a task in Meriden. Ziggy took on saving Red Bridge.
The job was not an easy one. Many weekends were spent scraping, sanding, primer painting, painting and putting in a new wooden floor.
Before the job was done, the Meriden Lions Club also took over the green park next to Red Bridge and put up the archway over the Q-Gorge Linear Trail. And they also spent a cold winter installing the Meriden Lions Club Learning Center and their reception office at what is now the Headquarters for the Quinnipiac River Watershed Association (QRWA).
Since the reconstruction of Red Bridge, the Meriden Lions Club has put in more hours keeping the floor safe for the countless number of folks who use it on a daily basis. To keep up the constant maintenance of Red Bridge costs money and, to date, the Meriden Lions Club has put thousands of dollars into Red Bridge so we can all enjoy its beauty.
But now they need your help. To raise funds to help with the continued restoration of Red Bridge, the Meriden Lions Club is going to host a meal called “Pasta with a Prpose,” a.k.a. Red Bridge Pasta Dinner.
Knowing the Meriden Lions Club, this should be one heck of a meal, and your money will go to maintaining Red Bridge so that other generations will have a chance to enjoy it.
The Red Bridge Pasta Dinner will be held at Holy Angels Community Center, 585 Main Street (Diamond Hill) in South Meriden on Friday, April 6 from 6-8 p.m.
Tickets are $10 adults and $6 for children under 8. They can be purchased at the door or from Moran’s TV & Appliances (664 West Main Street, Meriden), Tom’s Diner (55 Main Street, South Meriden) or Haberli Electric (125 Research Parkway, Meriden).
Hope to see you all there. It’s for a good cause.
It is now official: a trout and salmon stamp is required for any angler 16 years of age or older fishing in a Trout Management Area (TMA), Wild Trout Management Area (WTMA), Trout Park or Atlantic Salmon Broodstock Area.
A stamp is also needed to keep trout, Kokanee Salmon or Broodstock Atlantic Salmon anywhere statewide. (There are some exceptions for waters not stocked by DEEP that are stocked by another entity.)
Fees for the trout and salmon stamp are $5 for resident anglers ages 18 and older, $3 for Connecticut residents ages 16-17 and $5 for nonresident anglers ages 16 and older. The stamp is now available on the Online Sportsmen’s Licensing system.
Mark your calendars. The Meriden Rod & Gun Club on Ravens Lane in South Meriden will host its now famous, fabulous St. Jude Day next Saturday, March 24 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The event will be held rain or shine because childhood cancer hits children every day, rain or shine.
Your $10 admission ticket gets you on the firing range, trap range and archery range — plus all the food you can eat all day long. There is also a huge sportsmen’s raffle with something for everyone.
Every penny goes to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Make my day. You do not have to be an outdoors person to enjoy the camaraderie of the day. You will find no other day like it. I promise! More next week.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all of my Irish friends.See ya’ and God Bless America and watch over our troops wherever they may be.
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