Bridge Up, Money Down (Henniker)

1780: How much rum does it take to build a bridge during a Revolution?

HENNIKER-COGSWELL-081-Bridge-01-www.MarekBennett.com

HENNIKER-COGSWELL-081-Bridge+Money-02-www.MarekBennett.com

This all got me thinking…
What percentage of the town’s bridge-building budget went for rum?

  • First of all, these “dollars” would probably be Spanish dollars, since the US “dollar” was not created until 1792.
  • Let’s assume a ballpark figure of the standard 1 POUND STERLING = 4.5 (Spanish) dollars
  • Then that $740 rum budget = 164 POUNDS.
    (For simplicity, I’m assuming the town figured in pounds sterling.  If they did NOT, then our calculations would be off, perhaps by a factor of 57!)
  • That 164 POUNDS = 1.8% of the overall budget of 9,000 POUNDS.

Just out of curiosity, I did a quick search for more recent bridge repair discussions in Henniker town meetings.  If the town’s rum budget has remained at 1.8% of the overall bridge budget, we can assume that when the town discusses “initial cost for engineering services” to evaluate a bridge & make plans for a repair at a cost of $30,000-50,000 (!), then something like $540-900 would go towards purchasing rum for said engineers….  (It would be interesting to know how much rum the engineers use in this process nowadays, just for historical comparison!)

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