Somerset enjoyed a period of great prosperity during the mid -nineteenth century, and the arrival of the railroads was an important contributing factor. In 1866, only a year after the Civil War ended, a railroad drawbridge across the Taunton River from the North Somerset shore to northern Fall River was completed. The bridge, part of the Old Colony railroad system, was at the time the longest bridge in the New England states. A two-story railroad station and an enormous coal yard eventually dominated the eight-acre site located at the foot of what would become Old Colony Avenue. Trains loaded with coal left the coal docks bound for Fall River, Providence, and Boston. The barges and boats that transported the coal to the docks can be seen in the background of the nineteenth century photo.
Somerset was once a transportation hub delivering needed commodities and a critical energy source to cities that throbbed with industry during the Gilded Age.