Memorial Bridge News

Invite extended to Eileen Foley to cut ribbon again

She was just five years old when she was chosen to cut the ribbon for the brand new Memorial Bridge on August 17, 1923.  Now former Portsmouth Mayor Eileen Foley, who will celebrate her 95th birthday on February 27th, has accepted an invitation from the New Hampshire Department of Transportation to participate in the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Memorial Bridge when it’s completed this summer, almost exactly 90 years later.

“I’m excited and looking forward to it,” Eileen Foley responded when formally invited by NHDOT Commissioner Chris Clement, Memorial Bridge project manager Keith Cota, and representatives of the company building the bridge, Archer Western Contractors.  “I feel fortunate to once again be participating in a celebration of a new Memorial Bridge.”

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While she would one day become Mayor of her home town, to this day the Foley family has no idea why young Eileen Dondero (Foley) was picked out of the crowd of 5,000 people for the ribbon-cutting honors.  That same day she also was in the group that rode the first draw of the lift span.

“We felt it was very appropriate to issue the first official invitation for this year’s Memorial Bridge celebration to Eileen Foley,” says Commissioner Clement.  “As much as anyone associated with the Memorial Bridge projects, Eileen has connected generations and bridged communities.”

The previous Memorial Bridge crossing the Piscataqua River between Portsmouth, New Hampshire and Kittery, Maine was built at a cost of $2 million.  It was dedicated as a “Memorial to the Sailors and Soldiers of New Hampshire who participated in the World War 1917-1919.”

(Click on image to enlarge)

(Click on image to enlarge)

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