The only bridge to Deer Isle was opened in 1939. Until then a ferry service, begun in 1792 by Nathaniel Scott and operated by his descendants for 150 years, transported people and goods. Paved roads and automobiles came late to the island because a busy network of steamboats connected with mainland locations. However, with steamer service declining and tourism increasing, by the 1930s the time had come to build a bridge.
Holton D. Robinson and David B. Steinman, who had built the Waldo-Hancock Bridge over the Penobscot River in 1931, designed the 1088-foot suspension bridge over the Eggemoggin Reach. Their challenges were numerous: wind and stability issues, substantial tides, a necessary minimum 85-foot underclearance mid-way across a 200-foot channel to accommodate tall masts, a required early summer completion date necessitating winter work, and a limited budget. The project used a number of problem-solving innovations, including off-site prefabrication of the forms for the tower pedestals and cofferdams; utilization of pre-stressed twisted strand cables and new connection methods; and construction of a steep approach and shorter than usual vertical curve at the center to provide clearance. The bridge, financed as a Depression Public Works project, was completed in March 1939. Vehicles paid a toll for many years.