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Picturing the Past 135: Old Duck River bridge

Posted Tuesday, November 8, 2011, at 9:46 AM

(Photo)
Looking toward the north on the bridge over Duck River on South Cannon Boulevard in Shelbyville in late 1969.
If you're in your mid-30s or older you likely remember a view similar to this, except without the floodgate up and Duck River's water lapping near the South Cannon Boulevard bridge in Shelbyville. This view's from a December 1969 flood.

You likely sat in traffic, either as a driver or passenger, seeing this northward-looking view many times.

I remember that bridge bounced, and you could feel it shaking. Today's wide Veterans Memorial Bridge shakes, too, just not as much.

Remember what it looked like? Seems like it was silver for many years and was painted a dark green in the 1970s.

One thing that surprises me is that the old bridge was retained when the urban renewal program led to almost everything around it being torn down. Anyone remember why it wasn't replaced as well? Lack of additional money or funding?

Veterans Memorial Bridge replaced this bridge in the mid-1980s.

QUESTIONS

I've had two questions from readers for which I don't have answers. Maybe you can help.

1. When was Nashville Dirt Road paved? One reader thinks it was in the early 1970s.

2. How did Coney Island Road get its name? I'm guessing it was named after the Coney Island area of New York City, but what was the local connection?

Picturing the Past is a regular feature of this blog. Photo contributions are welcome.


Comments
Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

David that is a great camera shot of the bridge with the flood gate raised. I remember when the bridge was painted silver as well as when it was painted green.

As for Nashville Dirt Road being paved, I do not have a clue. However, I do remember it being paved just a little ways out of town (maybe City Limits) and then being gravel the rest of the way to just above North Fork Baptist Church.

I always thought that there was an Island in the river called Coney Island and I thought that was where the name Coney Island Road came from.

-- Posted by leeiii on Mon, Nov 7, 2011, at 1:47 PM

If anyone has a 1959 Central High School Aquila (yearbook), there is a picture of the bridge in all its silver glory inside the cover of the yearbook!

-- Posted by caligal on Mon, Nov 7, 2011, at 8:02 PM

There was a walkway built on the side of the bridge after this picture was taken.

Wonder what actually happened to the bridge when they took it down. Dismantled, scrapped, crushed, melted?

-- Posted by AmericanWoman on Mon, Nov 7, 2011, at 10:18 PM

I kind of miss bridges like this because they had a certain character to them that the newer bridges like the one we have now doesn't. I remember one time as a small child riding with my father across the bridge when the flood waters were actually over the bridge just a little bit and I was so scared but my father just drove through like it was nothing.

-- Posted by jaxspike on Mon, Nov 7, 2011, at 10:51 PM

I remember that old bridge well. Walked across on the attached walkway many times hunting a good fishing hole. The spookiest brisge in Bedford County had to be the old iron bridge on Warners Bridge road. Driving over that that bridge at night used to be an adventure, especially if you convinced your date that the old bridge was haunted!

-- Posted by Tim Lokey on Tue, Nov 8, 2011, at 1:20 AM

Wasn't the bridge on Warner's road called "Rattle Bridge"? I remember it well.

-- Posted by caligal on Tue, Nov 8, 2011, at 9:24 AM

In the late 30s or early 40s, my family used to go swimming at Coney Island. There was a gravel road through woods and undergrowth that ran back toward the river and a big gravel island in shallow water when you got to the river. No swimming pools and such then so it was always a special treat when Daddy would take us there on Sunday afternoons.

-- Posted by luckylu on Tue, Nov 8, 2011, at 11:13 AM

Regarding the Nashville Dirt Road question, we grew up on the corner of NDR and Peacock Lane. The family farm was (still is) up the road toward town. My sisters believe the road was paved during the time between 1961 and 1963. There are a couple of memories that come to mind for them: the summer that the road was torn up (limestone ledges removed, hills graded etc) there was a terrific thunderstorm from which lightning struck Mr. Sam Jennings barn. Daddy, my brother and Jimmy Crick (they think) had been in the hay field and were waiting out the storm, saw the smoke, loaded up in the old blue truck and started down the road thinking it could be our house on fire. My sisters remember looking out the window of the little house and seeing the truck with Daddy and the boys sliding sideways thru the mud down the hill in front of where Sonny and Elizabeth Coop live now. Apparently the road bed was a river of mud after the rain!

They also remember when the big culvert in front of where Melba Whorley lives now was being installed. The men had to dig out deep enough into the spring bed to install the culvert and then raise the road bed 4 or 5 feet. They remember that the men didn't build the little wooden bridge back over the branch and until the big culvert was installed you had to drive the several feet down one side of the road into the branch and then back up the other side.

-- Posted by Mi on Tue, Nov 8, 2011, at 5:52 PM

Thanks luckylu, your answer pretty much lines up with what I suspected. The river has changed a lot in my lifetime and some of the little gravel bars have "relocated" but we'll always have Coney Island Road.

And thank you David for putting my question forward.

-- Posted by MyMrMarty on Thu, Nov 10, 2011, at 12:53 PM


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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.