Salt and Peppah

It’s been a couple of tough work weeks followed by fun, life-affirming weekends, and I am not strapped into this roller coaster. The result is inconsistent blog postings and more brain fatigue than usual, which was at a pretty high bar to start with. But Friday I was able to take a walk after work and just be in my beloved city Boston, with summer-like sunny and warm weather.

My sister and I watched some episodes of “Spenser for Hire” a few weeks ago. In case you weren’t lucky enough to be alive in the 80s, Spenser was a private eye TV show set in Boston that featured a lot of local filming. We were less watching the show for the plot, and more waiting for me to shout randomly, “I know where that street corner is!” “That must be Southie!” “I saw them film that part at BU!” (I was a work study student in the BU PR office at the time).

One of the things I identified is what we in Boston call the salt and peppah bridge. Its real name is the Longfellow Bridge, but its most prominent feature is 4 distinct pillars that look like salt and pepper shakers. It carries the Red Line train and traffic across the Charles River, to and from Cambridge and Boston. I work very close to it, and on my walk I got to be a tourist and admire and capture this beautiful iconic bridge. It was originally completed in 1906, and a painstaking, historically accurate rehabilitation was completed in 2016. The metal was riveted (as in Rosie the Riveter), which is no longer a technique used, and the foundation was shored up using the same granite, which was no longer available, but the construction company found a supply saved from a demolished bridge of the same period. I love how nerdy Boston gets, even with its bridges.

In the photo, one of the “shakers” sticks out from the bridge and is in the distance.


  1. Thanks for sharing both the gorgeous photo and the memories of Spenser! RIP, both Robert Parker and Robert Urich. That someone saved the granite from the other bridge is my favorite detail.

    1. Right??? That they even bothered to look for it is amazing. And it was a LOT of granite just sitting there in there in this stone company’s yard.

  2. I used to ride the Red Line in from Central Square every morning when I worked for Blue Cross back in the 70’s.
    Does it still make that swing into someone’s apartment as you go over the bridge and into the station?

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