Rating:
12 votes

Drew Bridge

Photos 

Photo taken by Unknown

View this photo at canoesuwannee.com

BH Photo #190985

Map 

Description 

The Drew Bridge is named after Frank & George Drew, sons of George F. Drew, governor of Florida from 1877-1881 and owner of the Drew Lumber Company. The bridge was purchased in Brazil for $15,000 in 1899 by the Drews and was floated on a barge to its present location. The bridge was moved into place by turning a crank in the middle of the bridge as trains needed. The Drew bridge was used until 1920 by the Florida railroad. The bridge was bought jointly by Suwannee & Lafayette county for possible use as a road bridge and has been sitting undisturbed since 1920.The bridge can no longer be reached by road, but can be reached by boat on the Suwannee River.

More info on the history of the Drews, the Drew Lumber Co., and the Florida railway can be found at www.taplines.net.

Facts 

Overview
Through Truss Swing Bridge over Suwannee River on Abandoned Suwannee & San Pedro Railroad
Location
Lafayette County, Florida, and Suwannee County, Florida
Status
Abandoned since mid 20th century.
History
Built between 1869-1874 at an unknown location, purchased 1899, installed 1901; abandoned 1920
Railroad
- Suwannee & San Pedro Railroad
Design
Narrow gauge swing bridge
Dimensions
Total length: 260.0 ft.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+30.10108, -83.11410   (decimal degrees)
30°06'04" N, 83°06'51" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
17/296283/3331871 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Mayo SE
Inventory number
BH 47418 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • May 23, 2018: New photos from John Marvig
  • May 11, 2018: Updated by Dave King: Added category "Laced endposts"
  • May 11, 2018: Updated by Luke: Removed false "Future Prospects" added by Amanda due to field check by John Marvig
  • April 11, 2018: Updated by Amanda: Bridge has been possibly damaged/destroyed by flooding
  • October 30, 2016: New photo from Robert Thompson
  • January 1, 2011: New photos from Blake K. Reaves
  • December 27, 2010: Added by Blake K. Reaves

Sources 

Comments 

Drew Bridge
Posted May 19, 2018, by Anonymous

Now that Angie has been blocked, I wonder how many other anonymii will disappear.

Drew Bridge
Posted May 19, 2018, by Luke

Yet another occasion this Futurama clip has been apropos regarding "Amanda" and their BS:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4vIBijzg4w

Drew Bridge
Posted May 19, 2018, by Local Resident

I’m not even sure who Amanda is but if the extent of copyright violations and potentially incorrect information is as bad as James makes it sound, then yeah, either ban the user, or at least, prevent them from editing anything until they learn what “copyright” and “verifiability” mean. Those are the two most important concepts when contributing information to any public website or database: make sure the info is not copyright infringement, and make sure it’s verifiable.

I find it unfortunate that FLDOT doesn’t appear to care for this bridge, because if they did, they would’ve placed it in storage in a safe place, rather than placing it back on the pier where it will only be a matter of time before it falls again.

P.S. addressing messages to Amanda, whoever they may be, is probably pointless if they are blocked or banned.

Drew Bridge
Posted May 19, 2018, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

James:

Thanks for doing the investigation. I have no doubt than Adnama will create a new website with copyrighted material again. We must be vigilant.

Drew Bridge
Posted May 19, 2018, by James Baughn (webmaster [at] bridgehunter [dot] com)

Well, well, well. I did some forensic analysis on the IP number used by both "Local Resident" and "Amanda".

And what did I find? This little beauty of a link:

https://wikivisually.com/wiki/Wikipedia:Long-term_abuse/I_Lo...

Wikipedia has banned a particular user, "I Love Bridges", for the "Creation of hoax bridge articles, and meddling with existing ones."

The same IP number used by Amanda is mentioned on that page. It has been banned from Wikipedia for a year because of long-term abuse.

Good riddance, Amanda. Wikipedia was right to ban you, but I'm not willing to settle for a one year ban. You and your hoaxes and copyright violations are not welcome here ever again.

Drew Bridge
Posted May 19, 2018, by Anonymous

President Trump explains what happened here.

Drew Bridge
Posted May 19, 2018, by Local Resident

James,

I’m using a VPN server, which obfuscates my IP data for privacy. Therefore, it doesn’t locate to my actual location. In fact, I don’t even know where it locates to.

I AM A LOCAL RESIDENT and I do not appreciate being attacked or harassed.

Drew Bridge
Posted May 19, 2018, by James Baughn (webmaster [at] bridgehunter [dot] com)

I was shocked, shocked to discover that the first comment from "Local Resident" was posted from the same IP number used by Amanda in the past, and that this IP number is registered to an internet provider that is 1,200 miles away from the Drew Bridge.

I've tried to follow the advice of "Don't feed the trolls" but this is getting ridiculous.

Drew Bridge
Posted May 19, 2018, by Local Resident

John,

I believe there may be a few pictures of the bridge while it was located next to the Hal W. Adams Bridge. However, FLDOT is notorious for refusing to make their documentations public, and therefore very rarely will you find pictures like this on Google Images or whatever.

The bridge originally collapsed due to flash flooding of the Suwannee River submerging the swing pier underwater. It was initially thought that the swing pier was destroyed, but fortunately that was not the case.

The superstructure did sustain some damage. I saw the bridge while it was next to the Hal W. Adams Bridge, and some of the members were definitely falling apart and bent out of shape. However, for some strange reason, a police officer who just happened to be driving by claimed that it was illegal to take photos of the bridge, which I know in theory is a 1st amendment violation, but I didn’t want to get arrested... so yeah.

As to why it was placed back on the same pier, your guess is as good as mine. As I noted, some of the cast iron appears to have been replaced, but I have no clue why they would put a bridge already damaged back on a pier that was in danger of complete failure. My guess is that FLDOT is too busy and is spending too much money on widening short little freeways in the Miami area, and adding astronomical toll rates on said freeways, when they really don’t serve a functional purpose.

Drew Bridge
Posted May 19, 2018, by Artemus

OK(fenokee)

It must have taken some clever logistics and engineering to set an historic swing truss back up on it's precarious perch in the middle of the ol' Swannee river where it sat unused for half a century. Some might suggest that the necessary resources would be better used to put the truss on display somewhere more accessible to the public, but I say "poo on that".

Thanks to local resident for filling us in on the details. Surely there are pictures of the move?

At least we now know for sure that Andrea wasn't just bullshitting about the near loss of this span.

'Scuze me - I gotta get some popcorn for this discussion.

Drew Bridge
Posted May 18, 2018, by John Marvig (marvigj27 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Local resident,

Are there any pictures of the restoration and resetting process? I've not seen a bridge like this survive a fall into a river without sustaining some damage. What apparently caused the bridge to fall in? And if it fell in once, why was the decision made to have a structure in danger of imminent failure placed back on the same pier?

Drew Bridge
Posted May 18, 2018, by Local Resident

Ahem... local resident speaking.

There is no “trolling” going on here. This bridge was indeed swept off its pier by flash flooding of the Suwannee River during a large patch of severe thunderstorms, and as Nathan Holth mentions, the superstructure was temporarily relocated next to the Hal W. Adams Memorial Bridge.

The good news was that, unlike what was originally thought, the bridge did not suffer serious structural damage, and the best part was that the swing pier did not completely give way under the floodwaters, as it had appeared to. Once the floodwaters receded, myself and a few other residents went down to the river and discovered the pier was still there.

As such, the bridge superstructure was moved back and placed back on the pier a few days before John’s visit. The bridge was essentially bolted on to the pier, so that’s a major alteration, and I gather that one or two of the cast iron members had to be replaced. Despite this, I can confirm that the bridge is indeed currently intact, albeit considered at risk for “imminent failure” in any future flash flooding event, however it was not intact for a period of time and therefore no “trolling” was occurring here.

Drew Bridge
Posted May 12, 2018, by Adonis

A "very clever" troll... or not.

Drew Bridge
Posted May 11, 2018, by Leslie R trick

What a nice surprise sadly we can not say the same for Matt and the Auburn Bridge.

Drew Bridge
Posted May 11, 2018, by John Marvig (marvigj27 [at] gmail [dot] com)

What’s better than driving 3 hours to find a collapsed bridge? Driving three hours to find the bridge intact. It looks like it was just a ruse by a troll somewhere that reported it...

Drew Bridge
Posted April 11, 2018, by John Marvig (marvigj27 [at] gmail [dot] com)

If it sustained heavy damage, best thing Florida could do is keep the remains preserved as a landmark, with a sign that says “this is what happens when you ignore history”. Another bridge from the “hit list” to the “shit list”. It’s a damn shame...

Drew Bridge
Posted April 11, 2018, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

The bridge has indeed reportedly collapsed but as I understand was salvaged and is in a fenced off area near the Mayo suspension bridge.

Drew Bridge
Posted August 16, 2015, by ArtS (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)
Drew Bridge
Posted May 12, 2015, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Blake,

As a followup to my evaluation of this bridge's significance, I have submitted request to Florida State Historic Preservation Office to list the bridge on the National Register of Historic Places. The process moves REALLY slow, but supposedly Florida SHPO is doing its own research on the bridge as well. My hope is that a listing would increase awareness of the bridge.

Drew Bridge
Posted May 12, 2015, by Blake K. Reaves (blakekarleen2012 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

I am absolutely amazed at what I read about the Drew Bridge. I can honestly say that I know very little about bridges. I just knew that I had been fascinated by this old swing bridge since I was a small child and thought that it deserved some recognition, as few people in our town knew it existed. I never thought it could be one of the oldest railroad bridges in the country. The two counties really don't know what they've got sitting there in the river and I wish more could be done to preserve it.

Drew Bridge
Posted November 20, 2014, by ArtS (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)

Good luck with your research Nathan.

Regards,

Art S.

Drew Bridge
Posted November 20, 2014, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Art,

Yes, the Clays Ferry Bridge is a bridge from the same era I believe this bridge to be from. As far as builder, it is an interesting possibility, the similarities of the portal bracing are somewhat striking. The castings and connection details are quite a bit different. It does offer a potential direction for research however.

Drew Bridge
Posted November 20, 2014, by ArtS (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)

Nathan,

Based on the design cues could it be of the same period and maker as this one:

http://bridgehunter.com/ky/fayette/clays-ferry-old/

Regards,

Art S.

Drew Bridge
Posted November 19, 2014, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

I visited this bridge and discovered it has cast iron struts and other fascinating details. Its unusual details and use of cast iron make it potentially one of the oldest surviving swing bridges in the USA. My analysis, findings, and photos are here: http://www.historicbridges.org/bridges/browser/?bridgebrowse...

Drew Bridge
Posted March 16, 2012, by Anonymous

Most likely because, at that point in time, most sailing ships either used sails of were powered by a motor and had large smokestacks that would have likey hit and damaged the bridge. That's just a theory though.

Drew Bridge
Posted March 16, 2012, by Sadie (doracline [at] aol [dot] com)

Does anyone know why it was used as a rotating bridge? Why not just have a solid bridge installed?

Drew Bridge
Posted April 24, 2011, by Blake K. Reaves

Unfortunately no preservation efforts have been made. It has been sitting in this position, untouched since the 1920's. At one point there was the idea to use it as a normal traffic bridge, but no efforts towards that have been made either.

Drew Bridge
Posted February 5, 2011, by Bubba (get14me [at] windstream [dot] net)

Have any preservation efforts been initiated?

Drew Bridge
Posted December 28, 2010, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

All I can say is wow! This may be one of the oldest and most important historic bridges in Florida. If it was moved in 1899, think how old it may be in reality.

Drew Bridge
Posted December 27, 2010, by Robert Thompson

Excellent catch!