The last car to officially cross the stone store bridge was driven by who? Anyone know?
Link to article.
Why destroy the bridge? That will ruin the area it was better when it was small town.
I can tell you quite a lot about this photo of the Kerikeri River Bridge in New Zealand's Bay of Islands. I've spent a lot of time there.
The bridge links the two halves of the town of Kerikeri - it is (was) an important part of the road network. But it was a poor design, for two reasons. The first is that it was only a one-way bridge for two way traffic - acceptable when it was built, but Kerikeri grew to be a major centre and it became inadequate for traffic volumes long ago. Secondly, it was too low to the water even at usual river flow level. Whenever there was flooding upriver, of course the level would rise and trees, bushes and other paraphernalia would bank up against the bridge, causing the area to flood. The bridge was regularly closed because of this.
In the background you can see three buildings. There are all very important to New Zealand heritage. The wooden building nearest the bridge is Kemp House, the original Kerikeri mission house. Next to it is the Stone Store, which dates back to the times when sailing ships pulled in here for supplies. The third building, up the hill, is St James Presbyterian Church.
As an aside, I was married in that church!
Anyway, every time the area flooded because of the bridge, Kemp House and the Stone Store were threatened - especially the Stone Store, whose foundations became compromised.
So, the bridge had to go. For years the plan for a replacement was debated, but an agreement was reached and action happened in 2009.
Folklore had it that the first car across the Kerikeri River Bridge was a Model T Ford. The black and white photo accompanying this news story shows it. So, just before demolishing the bridge, it was thought the last car across should be a Model T Ford. And that's what's going on in the colour picture.
The car was driven by it's owner, the proprietor of a local pioneer museum. See http://www.petesmuseum.co.nz/petes_museum.htm
His passenger was the local Member of Parliament at the time, John Carter. John Carter was elected Mayor of the region (Far North District Council) in our local body elections a couple of weeks ago.
And now to a correction. Thinking this was a very good story for my book, I secured high res copies of the two photos. Upon examining the black and white one, it became clear it was taken at the start of 1917 - the car was heading off to join the well-recorded Parliamentary Tour of the north - a protest about poor road conditions in the region.
Thanks John - I honeymooned in the Bay of Islands and as a teenage had many summer sailing holidays on my fathers yacht in and around the Kerikeri Inlet. We would sail up from Auckland and spend three or four weeks there just sailing, swimming, fishing and diving. A lovely part of New Zealand and so rich in our country's (albeit young) history -Karl