New Portland is a town in Somerset County, Maine, United States. The town of New Portland was given to the residents of Falmouth (now Portland, Maine) by the Massachusetts legislature to repay them for their loss when the British fleet burned Falmouth in 1775. Land in East New Portland was first settled by Revolutionary War veterans in 1783. Other families followed, and the Town of New Portland was incorporated in 1808 as a part of Massachusetts .
Despite famines, trouble with wild animals and other hardships, the town prospered until the lure of free western land and the advent of the automobile changed our many prosperous farms to woodland once again. Now numbering some 750 people, residents of our three villages look toward the future with faith and confidence.
The Wire Bridge spanning the Carrabassett River in New Portland is a unique structure, the only survivor of four such bridges built in Maine in the 1800′s and probably the only such bridge still standing in the US. The actual facts of its origin have frequently been misquoted. However, available records indicate the building of the bridge began in 1864 and was completed in 1866. Two men, David Elder and Captain Charles B. Clark, were responsible for the bridge design and construction.
The towers are constructed of timber framing and covered with boards protected by cedar shingles. In 1959 the 99th Maine Legislature enacted legislation for the preservation of this bridge. The bridge was renovated in 1961, when the tower bases were capped with concrete, the towers were rebuilt, steel suspender rods were replaced by steel cables, and a new timber deck was installed. The bridge was renovated again in 2009-2010 with work to outside of the steel cables. The tower framing timbers and main support cables are the original material. The span between towers is 198 feet.
Foss, Roland E., A history of the New Portlands in Maine Farmington, Maine. The Knowlton & McLeary Co., 1977