50 years as the BU Bridge
Half a century ago, a group of Boston University students marched on the State House with a demand. Or, more likely, they took the subway and presented a request. They proposed that the state consider renaming the Cottage Farm Bridge, which then marked the western boundary of the growing Charles River Campus.
The Cottage Farm Bridge had been open since 1928 and served, according to a preopening description in the Boston Herald-Traveler, as "one of the main links in the main traffic artery between the North and South Shores of Massachusetts." Its location was ideal, notes the paper, as "Braves Field, the home of the Boston national Base Ball team, is but a short distance from the Boston Terminus." The Cottage Farm Bridge replaced an 1850s wooden structure called the Brookline Bridge.
The BU students found an ally in State Senator John E. Powers, who sponsored the legislation to rename the span. The proposal passed both houses without a dissenting vote. In May 1949 the renaming was celebrated with a parade of ROTC members and "pretty Boston University coeds" (according to the Herald-Traveler once more). BU President Daniel Marsh and Powers (who died last summer) unveiled a commemorative plaque that cited BU's "service to state & nation."
The plaque has long since been stolen, alas, and only the bolt holes remain, wistfully awaiting a replacement. -- MBS