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Sketoe Bridges

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Overview

For a complete explanation of the bridges, the associated legend, and of their history, please read the "essay" about these bridges.

Photo taken by James McCray

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BH Photo #125954

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"A Brief Summary of the Sketoe Bridges" 

Written by James McCray

The Old AL 123 Bridges over the Choctawhatchee River at the John Hutto Park in Newton is the location of one of the most famous urban legends in Alabama. The book,"13 Alabama Ghosts and Jeffrey", by Kathryn Windham records the story of a Bill Sketoe who was hanged from a tree next to the old wooden bridge. According to the legend, Bill was so tall that to successfully put him to death the executioners had to dig out a hole beneath his feet so that he would not touch the ground. The legend goes on to state that the "ghost" of Bill still "cleans out" his hole to this day of anything that falls into it. The bridge made famous by the book is a wooden bridge built in the 1860's. The remains of the wooden bridge can be seen just to the west of the new AL 123 bridge. A few wooden stubs and a couple of support columns in the river is all that remains of the old wooden bridge. The old AL 123 concrete bridge about 100 yards west of the new bridge remains abandoned in place but with its approaches collapsed. All in all, there are three bridges represented at the "Sketoe Hanging Site." The ruins of the old wooden bridge; the newer, but still old and abandoned concrete bridge, and the current AL 123 bridge.

Facts 

Overview
Abandoned concrete girder and a wooden bridge over Choctawhatchee River on AL 123 at the John Hutto Park in Newton
Location
Newton, Dale County, Alabama
Status
Abandoned
History
First bridge (wooden) built during or before Civil War and replaced by current old bridge (abandoned stringer bridge) probably during the 1920's. The current old bridge, although left abandoned in place, was replaced by the new bridge in 1976.
Design
Old Concrete Bridge is a girder bridge, the wooden bridge was either a wooden stringer or covered bridge.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+31.34273, -85.61191   (decimal degrees)
31°20'34" N, 85°36'43" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/632045/3468418 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Pinckard
Inventory number
BH 37614 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • September 26, 2013: New Street View added by J.P.
  • July 16, 2011: New photos from Ben Tate
  • October 13, 2008: Essay added by James McCray

Sources 

  • James McCray - jamesinslocomb [at] yahoo [dot] com
  • Ben Tate - benji5221 [at] yahoo [dot] com
  • J.P. - wildcatjon2000 [at] gmail [dot] com