Old Railroad Bridge - Sheffield-Florence
This historic bridge dates back to 1832 and now serves as a pedestrian bridge connecting Sheffield and Florence. The bridge is located along a former toll road and ferry. The first bridge at this location was completed in 1832. A second bridge completed seven years later was destroyed by the Confederate army in hopes of slowing the Union advance. The current bridge originally served train traffic with a lower level for pedestrians, livestock and wagons.
Backstory and Context
The bridge pier that supports the structure dates back to 1832. The current bridge is 1,580 feet long and 14 feet high and crosses the Tennessee River. The bridge was used to transport supplies and troops in the Civil War, leading Confederate Colonel Ben Harden Helm to make the bridge unusable to the Union army by order of General Albert Sydney Johnston. The Confederacy hoped that the destruction of the bridge would create an obstacle that would also prevent Union gunboats from crossing the area and navigating this section of the Tennessee River. Prior to the Civil War, the bridge had been damaged by tornadoes. The bridge was also damaged when a heavy steam locomotive caused the bridge to cave in.
1. Outdoors. Colbert County, Alabama, Tourism and Convention Bureau. Accessed July 16, 2018. http://colbertcountytourism.org/index.php/see-do/outdoors#natchez_trace_parkway.
2. McDonald, William Lindsey. The Old Railroad Bridge At Florence, Alabama and the River Crossing. The Old Railroad Bridge Co., Inc. Accessed July 16, 2018. https://oldrailroadbridge.com/old-railroad-bridge-landmark/.