(Hi)Story of Alice Bridge [Updated]


Alice Roosevelt Longworth was the first daughter of President D. Roosevelt, circa 1902. Image via Wikipedia

The bridge that connects the banks of Salog river (salog, is Bicol for river, so I am not sure why the locales call it such) is the first bridge I knew that has a name. I thought the name, Alice, was just a nickname coined by the locales.

My uncle, a former engineer in the public works, would tease me and my cousins that it was actually named after her wife. During that time, it made a lot of sense.

Eventually, I found out that it’s really the official name of the bridge.

So, who is really Alice?

An old picture³ of Alice Bridge’s inaguration. It seems that the view is pointing towards north east. The mountains are the ones dividing Albay and Sorsogon.

Background

On 1905, Howard Taft, the Secretary of War, embarked on a cruise visiting China, Japan and the Philippines – it is also known as the Imperial Cruise¹. It had two objectives: to assist with peace negotiations in order to end the Russo-Japanese War (1904—05); and to demonstrate American accomplishments in the Philippines. The latter objective entailed Taft’s entourage (which included Alice Roosevelt and some civilians) to visit Japan, wherein he and the Japanese premier, Count Katsura, agreed that the said country will be allowed to keep Korea, but will keep away from the Philippines².

Alice Bridge

Originally, there was a foot bridge connecting the banks of Salog river. The Alice Bridge replaced that foot bridge in 1905. It was inaugurated by Alice Roosevelt who traveled with Howard Taft during the imperial cruise. The former was also scheduled for the laying of the cornerstone of the Sorsogon High School³.

Alice Roosevelt

Alice, according to the sources, is actually the name of President Roosevelt‘s daughter, Alice Roosevelt Longworth (February 12, 1884 – February 20, 1980). She was the oldest child of the president; she is the only child of Roosevelt and his wife Alice Hathaway.

Present Time

Here’s a couple of pictures of the Alice Bridge as of October 2011.

 

North side of Alice Bridge. The building on the right housed the former Sorsogon Bakery.

 

South side of Alice bridge provides make shift stalls for small enterprises, considered as underground economy. This is a common sight especially duirng Saturdays, which is market day for the city.

 

—————-

¹Alice Roosevelt, Father’s Presidency

²Taft’s visit to Japan on 1905

³Page 180, “Growing Up”, Tracing – from Solsogon to Sorsogon, 2nd Edition, 2007

4Ebay item

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13 Responses to (Hi)Story of Alice Bridge [Updated]

  1. mocha cafelatte says:

    I love history and stories like this plus antique pix, its very informative. Thanks much!

  2. laurence says:

    The ongoing renovation of the bridge should also include a beautiful and good design that would make it a landmark of the city.

  3. totep says:

    The historical background of Alice bridge was already discussed publicly during the Kasanggayahan Heritage Lecture Series in 2010 which was sponsored by the Sorsogon Arts Council (SAC). The topic then was about the first decade of US colonial rule in Sorsogon from 1900 to 1910 with Dr. Stephen Henry Totanes as a resource person. Totanes noted that Alice, being tall and fair-skinned became an instant crowd favorite during that event adding to the fact that she is the daughter of the US president. Sorsogon officials thought of a way to mark that significant visit of Alice thus, they decided to name the bridge after her. – toteperez, SAC spokesperson

  4. mari de vera says:

    Hi Totep:
    A footnote of interest to Sorsogon’s social history: Alice Lee Roosevelt, (accompanied by her fiance Nicolas Longworth) was a guest at De Vera house on V. de Vera Street, when she came to Sorsogon to inaugurate the bridge. (The party disembarked in the wharf in rompeolas). This is mentioned in the NHI national historical landmark, Bahay Angkang De Vera, approved by former chair, Ambeth Ocampo in March 2006. The house was unfortunately destroyed by typhoon milenyo before installation of said marker, slated for November of the same year. One other distinguish guest mentioned in Bahay Angkang De Vera among others: an adolescent Richard Evelyn Byrd, the future Arctic explorer and admiral. The twelve-year old hung around the house after swimming and fishing in Sorsogon Bay. Byrd came to Sorsogon in the company of one Judge Carlton who was then assigned to the province and a colleague of our first governor, Bernardino Monreal who lived temporarily in the De Vera house.
    Mari de Vera

  5. Pingback: Set aside politics for development, says Sorsogon City mayor Lee | BICOL TODAY

  6. Manny Angeles says:

    Salamatonon tabi sa History Update……*would like to see some more of the same. Born and raised tabu ako sa Siragnan. for one: Diin tabi an “Location” san Bahay Angkang De Vera??!! Thanks! 🙂

  7. “tabi”……..[*Hate this auto-correct stuff…..]…. 😦

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