THE BRIDGES OF SMITH COUNTY

THE BRIDGES OF SMITH COUNTY

A KEN BECK FEATURE

This the first of a two-part series on 10 historic Smith County bridges.

Men first crossed the creeks and rivers of this land by wading or swimming or using canoes or wooden rafts.

Next came the ferryboat men, who were followed by the bridge builders.

Bisected by two great rivers, the Cumberland and the Caney Fork, and with a plethora of streams, branches and creeks crisscrossing its fields, farms and forests, Smith County boasts approximately 202 bridges (this number includes concrete culverts) that were built between 1918 and 2012.

About 75 percent of these were constructed after 1960.

Of course, bridges were made for function, to be used. Nobody likes to get their feet wet. But a passel of those ancient wood and metal truss bridges were mighty pleasing to the eye.

The contemporary concrete bridges are safer and easier to cross, but they’re not nearly as aesthetically fetching.

We’ve plucked 10 of Smith County’s most interesting spans to share a few photos and facts.

Note that two of these bridges no longer exist.

One bridge has been sold down the river.

Another remains as a barricaded historic ruin, and one is strictly for trains.

READ MORE IN THIS WEEKS COURIER