Singer Bobbie Gentry walking across the bridge
Photo from Life Magazine November, 1967
BH Photo #125420
I have a recollection of a news item that appeared at the time of the renaming of the bridge used in filming as the "Tallahatchie Bridge". According to the article, an elderly woman protested before the start of the solemnities that the bridge was named for her grandfather, who had designed it, and they had no business renaming the bridge. She was taken away from the vicinity and the festivities continued. If I recall correctly, the name originally on that bridge would have been "Reynolds". Can anyone confirm or deny that account or verify what the original name of the bridge actually was?
Turn south on HWY 49 off of HWY 82 east of Greenwood. Turn right on HWY 512 after traveling approximately 5 miles on 49. HWY 512 will turn into old route 7 (bear left when you get to the river) go approximately 1 to 2 miles and you'll see the new concrete bridge with the plaque attached on the right side of the bridge (east end).
So how would you get to the location of the Tallahatchie bridge from Greenwood. Directions, please. Thanks.
The bridge that Bobby Gentry is walking across is NOT the bridge where CR 512 crosses over the Tallahatchie River. The one she is walking across in the photo is from 11/20/1967 Life Magazine (P. 99). It is the old bridge she talked about in the song and was located at Money, MS. The bridge at Money collapsed on 06/19/1972, supposedly after it had been damaged when vandals set fire to it. It was replaced by a concrete bridge. It spans the TALLAHATCHIE River.
This newspaper article tells of the collapse of the old bridge at Money, MS:
Money Bridge Collapses, Greenwood Commonwealth, 06/20/1972, P. 1 (with 2 pictures)
“MONEY – The Tallahatchie River Bridge here collapsed between 11:30 and midnight Monday and presumably joined Billy Joe MacAllister in the muddy waters of the Tallahatchie.
Leflore County Deputy Sheriff Ricky Banks said he received a call from Sheriff Rufus Freeman about 12:15 a.m. today telling him the bridge had collapsed.
Leflore County Second District Supervisor Ray Tribble had called Sheriff Freeman earlier when two boys who had been fishing discovered the bridge had collapsed.
The two boys reportedly had gone upstream to fish and upon returning to Money found they couldn’t get over the collapsed span in the Tallahatchie River.
Tribble and his county road foreman Homer Hawkins then blocked the bridge off at the approaches on each side to prevent anyone from driving into the river.”
[Caption under photos] – “BRIDGE OUT AT MONEY – The middle section of the Tallahatchie river bridge at Money tilted towards its upstream side as it collapsed Monday night. The steel suspension bridge was built in 1927. Staff Photos by Steve Bailey.”
[Ed. Note: Pictures will be available when a non-distorted copy can be obtained.]
The bridge used in the movie (off Ole Roebuck Road on CR 512 in Rising Sun, MS) was demolished in 1987 and replaced with a concrete one. It spans the YAZOO River.
I grew up in greenwood and I used to cross the old bridge with my dad on the way to Belzoni . its was torn down in 1987. but the real bridge that billy joe jumped off of was about 2 miles west of Holcomb ms and until 2 years ago had a span left in the woods near the Yalobusha river . the reason why its was called the Tallahatchie bridge is because at that time that part of the county was in Tallahatchie county not grenada . somewhere I have 2 photos of the old roebuck bridge from the movie if I find them ill post them to the site
Here is a clip of Bobbie Gentry's BBC variety show from 1968 where she sings "Ode To Billie Joe" and it is interspersed with color footage of her walking across the bridge in question during the 1967 life Magazine shoot.
You're incorrect, Mick. Read all three of my posts. There are two new bridges, one north and the other south of Greenwood. The one that appeared in the movie is SOUTH of Greenwood. The one that she was pictured walking over in the magazine and that she said was similar to the bridge she wrote about in the song was the one near Money, NORTH of Greenwood.
@Michael Watson wrote: "Here is the new bridge ... (i)t is located 10 miles north of Greenwood, at Money, MS."
The map above clearly shows that the bridge of the song is SOUTH of Greenwood. And only 3-4 miles, not 10.
I grew up in Sidon. My family is from there. The old bridge was not very far from the new bridge at all. You can still drive down to where the old bridge was. The road dead ends at the river.
Here is the new bridge (seen in Aug. 2010) across the Tallahatchie River that replaced the bridge across which Bobbie Gentry was pictured walking in the Nov. 1967 issue of Life magazine (see my longer comment below). It is located 10 miles north of Greenwood, at Money, MS.
Michael Watson, Toronto
Here is the plaque at the east end of the new bridge that replaced the bridge that appeared in the 1976 movie, "Ode to Billy Joe". This is NOT the bridge referred to in the song. This bridge carries Roebuck Road (Co. Rd. 512) across the Yazoo River a couple of miles north of Sidon and 6 miles south of Greenwood.
I researched this topic for many weeks before my wife and I travelled to Leflore County on a driving trip from Toronto last month. We visited the bridges at both locations that people are talking about here.
The Tallahatchie River rises in northeastern Mississippi and makes its way through many counties and more than a hundred miles before it turns south and joins the Yalobusha River at the northern edge of the town of Greenwood. From that point downstream, the combined river is known as the Yazoo and not the Tallahatchie. The bridge about 6 miles south of Greenwood at Roebuck Road is the successor to the bridge that was featured in the 1976 movie, Ode to Billy Joe (note the spelling difference from the song). The original bridge that is seen in the movie fell down decades ago, and was located about 1000' feet to the north of the more modern bridge. On the eastern end of "new" bridge is a plaque commemorating the old bridge that was seen in the movie.
As for the bridge in the song: Gentry herself seems not to have had in mind a specific bridge when she wrote the song. The caption to the fairly well-known photo of her walking across the old bridge near Money, MS (10 miles north of Greenwood), which appeared in the November 1967 Life magazine article about her, says that it's the bridge she wrote about in the song. But if you dig deeper and read the story, she is quoted by the author of the article, who travelled with her back to Chickasaw County in the summer of 1967, as saying about the Money bridge, "This is what I had in mind", and that she "found a bridge ... that looked just like the one she remembered and sang about". So the old bridge near Money, which was torn down many years ago and replaced, was almost certainly not THE bridge that she wrote about, if indeed she had any specific bridge in mind. It's worth bearing in mind as well that Chocktaw Ridge, which features prominently in the song, is located a hundred miles away on the east side of the I-55, and not anywhere near the Tallahatchie River as it passes through Leflore County.
Craig, the bridge you're referring to is in Lafayette County and was built in 1953, long after this bridge was built. The link for this website page is below...
just north of oxford ms.,on hiway 7 is a bridge that crosses the tallahathchie river,it is a old bridge that looks similar to the ones on this post.
I don't know if the bridge is still there or not. I would love to find out. This is what I do know, that woman standing on it is breathtaking...
Yes, the bridge still exist. It is right outside an unincorpated town of Money,Miss. You have to stop at the general store/post office for directions. I went there about 10 years ago. You actually drive out into the side of a big cotton field to get there. There are 3 old farm workers type shacks still standing. Off to the left of them,you walk about 50 ft in the woods and you will see the bridge is still standing.
That bridge on Roebuck Rd. crosses the Yazoo River. The Tallahatchie river ends in Greenwood and the two rivers merge to form the Yazoo. The bridge has to be north of Greenwood.
Actually, it's this one......
E. Wise... it is not still there, it is gone. Refer to the map at the top of this page, the red pin is in the exact location the bridge used to be. The old road leading up to it is still there, but dead ends at the river now.
I read that the bridge is still there, but no longer in use. Where is the exact location of the old bridge?
This is the only place I have been able to find the location of the Tallahatchie Bridge. Thank you. (Researching it for a novel).
I have just looked it up on Google Earth. The location of the bridge and the road leading to it from either side appears to be redacted. I wonder why?
The bridge does still exist. It is no longer in use. A new bridge spanning the river was built and opened sometime in the late 80s.
The Till murder happened north of Greenwood near Money, MS. This bridge is south of Greenwood. The locations are about 20 miles apart.
Was this bridge located anywhere near Money Mississippi
where in 1955 a Black youth named Emmett Till whistled
at 21 year old Carolyn Bryant who was white at Bryant's
grocery.Carolyn's husband Roy owned the store and she was
running it while Roy was away.Roy found out later and
he and JW Milam murdered Emmett a few days later and
dumped his body in the Tallahatchie river.
I've gleaned some more information. There is a new UCEB a couple hundred feet from where this bridge was located, on a new alignment of Roebuck road. The stretch of old Roebuck road which led to the old bridge still exists. The bridge was demolished in 1987, and there is a plaque on the new UCEB stating that the bridge is the replcaement for the "Ode To Billie Joe" bridge.
Well, what bridge website would be complete without one of the most famous bridges in music history. I have alot of incomplete inforamtion on this bridge, some reports say it "collapsed" in 1972, some say it was a deck collapse, and was fixed, being used in the 1976 movie. I have not found information as to it's exact location, although we do know it no longer exists. Any more inforamtion that could be gleaned on this bridge would be interesting.