In 1893, Alfred Blount was lynched and hung across the first span of the bridge for an alleged attack on a white woman. In 1906, Ed Johnson was lynched and hung from the second span of the bridge under the same circumstances.
The bridge continued to carry motor traffic until 1978, when the cost to maintain the bridge no longer equaled the benefit. Chattanooga began taking steps to demolish the bridge in the 1980s, but found there were not enough funds to take it down. When dismantling began, community groups called for the bridge to be turned into a pedestrian walkway. In 1993, the bridge was finally reopened for this purpose.