Rating:
11 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
Bridge over Suwannee River on Suwannee & San Pedro Railroad (1902-1905)
Location
Lafayette County, Florida, and Suwannee County, Florida
Status
Closed to all traffic
History
Named after sons of George F. Drew (gov. of FL 1877-81); purchased in Brazil by Drews in 1899 & floated by barge to present location. Not in use since 1920.
Design
Narrow gauge swing bridge
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 

  • 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 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!