“The wisdom of bridges comes from the fact that they know the
both sides, they know the both shores!” ― Mehmet Murat ildan
By Bob Weaver
It would be difficult to imagine what the building of a bridge across the Little Kanawha River in 1911 meant to farmers, families and businessmen.
The previous century it was necessary to fjord the river, some days impossible, while in later years a ferry was put in place.
For nearly a century it stood, traveled daily by hundreds of motorists and people on foot from north and south Grantsville, including a few generations of Calhoun High School students who were allowed to walk to town on their lunch break.
Thousands of Calhoun High School students
"went to town" over the old bridge
The narrow steel structure had a wooden plank floor that banged and clattered to be heard all over town when vehicles crossed, but it later years it was surfaced with some asphalt and stop-lights erected at each end for one-way traffic.
It was near the bridge that notable Calhoun character Creed Brooks met a well-known girl of social status walking to the high school with her friends.
When she came upon the crusty, unkempt Creed, she announced to her friends, "We don't speak to trash," after which Creed replied, "My dear lady, I never fail to..."
It was a great place for kids to loiter or climb the steel structure.
During the recent funeral service for Hurite Charles "Tap" Kerby, it was recalled when he was a high school student he climbed to the top of the bridge with a dummy to hang it from a rope (likely representing an opposing football team), but locals thought he was up there to jump from the bridge, and called the town cop and fire department.
The bridge was a good place to court, and throw rocks above the dreamy and scenic Little Kanawha, or for the overly intoxicated to purge their pain.
Today, there are shadowy pieces and remembrances of the monumental structure, vine covered piers and rock walls leading to the passageway.
It's pretty unlikely the more modern Bernard Pius Bell Bridge will spawn such memories.
Rock wall approaching south end of bridge (left)
along the way the old dynamite safe belonging to Hope Gas
See GRANTSVILLE'S MODERN BRIDGE IN 1911 - "A County As Great And Wealthy As Ours Cannot Afford One Bridge?"
A TINY STREAMLET GIVES RISE TO LITTLE KANAWHA RIVER - Winding Path Travels 160 Miles