First known simply as Main Street, the road running from Kuripuni to the Waipoua River came to be called Bridge Street, as a reflection of the number of bridges spanning creeks and depressions in the road. Cabman “Captain” Ned Jones later claimed that he had named it Bridge Street during the time of his tenure of the ‘Sir George Grey Hotel’ on the site now occupied by the Wairarapa Community Polytechnic.
The name of Bridge Street was certainly apt. Charles Bannister writing in the 1940s recalled that the road was properly formed in 1863 and that the many bridges required were built at the same time. Heading south down Bridge Street from the Waipoua, the first bridge crossed what was colloquially known as the “Town Creek,” a stream known to the Maori as Mangaakuta. This stream ran across the paddocks from Albert Street, down the side of Lincoln Road and crossed the main road near the Church Street corner. The next bridge was a two-span construction, over a normally dry gully formed many years before when the Waingawa River had burst its banks and created a channel through the town. This gully was regularly filled with water when the Waipoua overflowed its banks near the Railway Station.
The third stream was the Makoura, also known as the Mill Stream or Renall’s Stream, as A.W. Renall used this stream to drive his flourmill. This stream flows across Queen Street from the bottom of Renall Street. The nearby Waiwaka Stream, which rises in the Retirement Village and flows through the Polytechnic, was also bridged at this time. The southern-most bridge to be constructed was over the Kuripuni stream.