My dad, J.N. Prince, could remember the river prior to construction of the 1930 bridge. He stated that for years after it was finished, users would have to pay toll to cross - each way. He said that when it was originally created, forest covered much of the land that is now field on either side of the river. The arc of the bridge was created so steep to allow barges to pass under during flood - and to dissuade wolves from crossing when ice was on the road. The White River had frozen solid several years prior to its construction and men had to stand watch to prevent the carnivores from killing their cattle.
As a kid, I remember my grandpa, Bud Willard, helping to log the trees from that area. At the same time, Papa argued with the townsmen that if they removed all the trees from the shores that they'd pay for it by and by because the White and her floods would wash downtown away. It has taken forty years, but I believe these words are being seen as truth now.
I can remember going over this bridge for most of my life. It was a beautiful sight, but the lanes were so narrow.
When I first began driving at the age of 14, I would literally be drenched with sweat when my car finally made it across the bridge. Several times I met an oversized 18-wheeler when I reached the top and wondered if I had enough room to make it through.
I have seen several pictures of the bridge when it was destroyed and a friend of mine even helped build the new bridge.
I found out from my grandmother that when her family came here from Missouri, they lived in a covered wagon below the bridge for several months.