Some people called it “the hut in the sky.” Others called it “the bird house.” Coming closer to reality, many simply called it the “gate house." By whatever name it was known, it certainly was one of the most unique and best landmarks in Bristol. It was there long before I came to this city (1953) and remained until several years thereafter. Doubtless many of my readers will remember the little boxlike hut perched high on a large steel beam near the State Street crossing of the main line railroad tracks.
As quaint as it was, it long served its purpose in keeping safe the numerous persons and vehicles that daily used this crossing. From its lofty perch, the gates were lowered that stopped the flow of traffic when trains were approaching. The gates have long been automatic, but for many years the closing was done by manpower. The little hut in the sky was built to house the keeper of these gates and a keeper was there night and day, ever alert and faithfully fulfilling his duty for the safety of the people of Bristol. It was a necessary service that most people gave little thought to but for which they should have been very thankful.