As I lived with my Grand Parents on the hill at the tipple end, I walked the span of the original bridge thousands of times during my childhood and early adult life, recalling each time where the holes and weak spots were located in the wooden deck floor. It was a much simpler, less complicated life then. I wish we could return to that era as we didn't know how good a life we had and as a result couldn't wait to run away to the 'big city' and 'bright lights.' Some of my favorite memories are of standing on the bridge at night light provided by only the moon and a million twinkling stars which cast a silver glow to the surroundings, hearing the gentle roar of the water as it passed over the dam, the white foam and mist created as it dropped into the lower pool. I viewed with awe the power of the river as viewed from the span above during the spring flood as it swept under, carrying dead animals, smashed structures, trees, john boats, canoes, and bottles and jugs by the thousands. I later retrieved one of the john boats, repaired it and made great use of the craft by visiting abandoned apple and pear orchards, and unpicked blackberry and strawberry patches, reaping from each fruits which we would can for later use. I used the craft for fishing and to take me to and from hard to get at squirrel and rabbit hunting sites, to gather liquor bottles which I then washed and sold to the local "distillers" for a nickle each. Good Money, when you had very little. On a good day I could earn $5.00 or more. That, at a time when a 12 oz RC and a bag of Tom's peanuts cost $0.20. At those times I felt as if I were walking on top of the world even higher than the bridge truss work.
I remember a couple of my friends climbing the truss work and walking the length of the bridge, from bank to bank and then climbing back down. I never had the nerve but I later jumped from airplanes and they didn't...so there Tom!
My Grandfather, Clyde Wilson,Sr., my Step-Father, Ernest Reece, along with Virgil Newman, and a little help (very little) from myself and Timmy Reece replaced the wooded floor deck and tire strips on the original bride during the summer of 1964. It was a horrendous, dangerous and back breaking job as we had no cranes, no forklifts no pneumatic or electric tools. Manual wrenches, hand drills, hand saws and man power only. No safety belts, straps or nets. I sometimes wonder how we escaped having someone killed.
The year the replacement bridge (existing) was constructed by out of town laborers much to the delight of the local girls. there were several romances and unplanned "encumbrances" as a result. I later learned several marriages, divorces and bitter words were the result of these "foreigners" visit to our little valley.
Although I am glad the new structure was erected it was a very sad day when the old span was completely removed. Along with it went thousands of memories, good and bad, but such is progress.
One of my most cherished memento's from that time is an original nailer strip mounting bolt from the wooden floor support steel I-Beams. We had to replace the originals with new bolts during our project and I kept one to use as a paperweight. Luckily, I have kept it with me. Just a rusty hunk of useless iron with a corroded steel nut but a reminder of my childhood home and the memories created during those gentle times.
I too, will have my ashes scattered from the bridge into the Kentucky River, there to mingle with the soil and water of my home, becoming one with the most beautiful places provided mankind by God during his creation of the Earth.
My Will instructs by heirs to perform this chore as a sign of their respect for me, my wishes and my love of place.
This bridge and the one at Cloverport are beautiful and a true testament to how the state of Kentucky SHOULD treat it's trusses.
And heck...I hate to admit it, but Wildcat Blue does look good on them!
i used to live in heidelberg ky if anyone has any pictures of heidelberg ky could you please email mer some at email@example.com thank you
In May of 2009 I scattered my father's ashes from this bridge, as he wished. Beautiful place. Forever in my heart. Will visit often, so if you see a girl standing on the bridge throwing flowers - take a moment to wish her and her father peace. Love and miss you dad !