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Lost Movable Bridges

Some movable bridges in Georgia have been lost to demolition. One example, shown below, is the former Seaboard Coast Line swing bridge over the Chattahoochee northwest of Donalsonville.

It was replaced by a fixed bridge built just downstream in 1974. The photo above shows the earlier bridge with its bridge tender's shack mounted in the center above the rails. Below is a photo showing the old and new bridges together in 1974 before the old bridge was demolished.

Note: The two photos above are from the Tom Solomon Photographs, Dothan Landmarks Foundation, Inc. Records, RG030. Archives of Wiregrass History and Culture, Troy University Dothan Campus, Dothan, AL.

Above is the newer bridge as it looked in April of 2011. The view is from
US 84 on the Georgia side of the river.

About 15 miles upstream the Central of Georgia crossed the Chattahoochee between Hilton and Columbia on a swing bridge that once stood near the current bridge (shown above). The older bridge was the scene of an accident that took the lives of three Central railroad men in February of 1905. Their westbound passenger train was approaching the bridge while it was swung open to allow a steamboat to pass. Unable to stop in time, the locomotive fell into the river. Remarkably, the passenger cars remained on the bridge, avoiding an even greater tragedy.

The East Tennessee, Virginia & Georgia Railroad had a swing bridge over the Ocmulgee River at Hawkinsville (above). Built by the Louisville Bridge and Iron Company in 1890, it had a 182-ft swing span and a 152-ft fixed span. (View above is toward Hawkinsville side. Swing span is on the right.)

Close-up view of the turning mechanism on the Hawkinsville bridge.

Note: The two photographs of the Hawkinsville bridge above are from the Library of Congress. Each has been cropped for this page. Full-view photos along with two other photos of the bridge and other information are online at the LOC, Prints and Photographs Division, here. Georgia's Railroad History & Heritage. © Steve Storey

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