Calvin Sneed

About Me 

Email: us43137415 [at] yahoo [dot] com

If I hadn't gotten into television news, I would surely have been either a bridge designer or bridge architect. One obsession was stronger, and both go way back.

My earliest recollection of an intense fascination with steel truss bridges, came from the demolition of a two-span, Warren truss bridge (the U.S. Highway 31-A bridge over the Duck River) near my family's property at the Henry Horton State Park at Chapel Hill, Tennessee south of Nashville in the spring of 1965.

I was 10 years old, and that was the most magnificent "big thing" I had ever seen in my entire life. It was an elegant masterpiece, all that steel, standing against the sky, towering over the river, allowing cars and heavy trucks to cross the river high up.. a big thing for a little boy to comprehend.

When the Tennessee Highway Department (predecessor to T-DOT) which built it in 1929, demolished it the spring and summer of 1965, I was so angry I didn't speak for days. I took it very personally. In my little mind, those monsters had come in and torn down this monument to steel magnificence. It broke my heart. It wasn't until one of the highway engineers spoke to me at length at the request of my grandmother, did I forgive them for tearing it down.

It took a lot of convincing.

Although the highway department replaced it with a "steel continuous stringer (multi-beam or girder)," it made me no difference. It was a boring bridge, with no character, no elegance.

I have been in love with steel truss bridges ever since. It is an obsessive fascination with me.

Every single steel truss bridge still on the planet needs to be a National Historic Landmark. The fact that they are dying and fading away, is troubling.. replaced by concrete tee beams and pre-stressed concrete slabs with no character, no substance, no distinguishing features.

Boring bridges.

"21st Century Monuments to Mediocrity."

As bridge lovers, we need to do more to save these steel trusses. The Walnut Street Bridge in Chattanooga was only the beginning. Leave the Highway 33 Bridge in Union County, Tennessee, the Highway 70 Bridge in Kyles Ford, Tennessee, the Surgoinsville Bridge in Hawkins County, Tennessee, the Russell-Ironton Bridge on the Ohio River... all scheduled for demolition. The new bridges are not being built at the expense of the old ones...the steel is not being reunsed in the new bridges, so leave them up for pedestrian access. Place plaques on them, denoting historical aspects and moments they have witnessed. Those old bridges represent the heritage of the areas where they serve.

Before I die, I will visit probably the most magestic and elegant bridge on this website, based on what I have seen. All I want to do, is gaze upon the Thebes Bridge at Cape Giradeau, Missouri. That one bridge is tops in my book. I have never seen so many different truss styles strung together, as on that bridge. I may spend the whole day there.

Creative Commons License
Bridge Pictures by Calvin Sneed are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at www.bridgehunter.com.

If you want to use, copy or purchase the pictures I take, please contact me at us43137415@yahoo.com. They are copyrighted.

Favorite Photos 

< Previous   (1 of 1)   Next >

It is impossible to photograph this bridge from a bad angle

Natchez Trace Birdsong Hollow Arch Bridge (Williamson County, Tennessee)

Enlarge

Recent Updates 

Fourpole Creek 8th Street Bridge (Cabell County, West Virginia)
Open spandrel concrete arch bridge over Fourpole Creek on 8th Street in Huntington
May 1, 2017: Updated by Calvin Sneed: Corrected bridge type
Daughtery Ferry Bridge (Hamilton County, Tennessee)
Warren w/verticals Camelback pony truss bridge over Sale Creek on Daugherty Ferry Road
May 1, 2017: Updated by Calvin Sneed: Fixed bridge type
Veterans Memorial Bridge (Coffee County, Tennessee)
Lost Warren Camelback polygonal through truss bridge over Duck River on U.S. 41 in Manchester
May 1, 2017: Updated by Calvin Sneed: The former bridge was a Warren Camelback polygonal truss
Pete Dillon Bridge (Mingo County, West Virginia)
Through truss bridge over Tug Fork on Harvey Street in Williamson, W. Va. and South Williamson, Ky.
September 19, 2016: New photos
High Bridge (Henderson County, North Carolina)
Open spandrel reinforced concrete arch bridge over Green River on Old US 176
September 18, 2016: Updated by Calvin Sneed: Updated historical information and pictures
New U.S. Grant Bridge (Scioto County, Ohio)
Cable-stayed suspension bridge the Ohio River on US 23 in Portsmouth
August 25, 2016: New video
Ironton-Russell Bridge (new bridge) (Greenup County, Kentucky)
Cable-stayed bridge over Ohio River on South 2nd Street Extention (Ironton)
August 25, 2016: New Street View added
Ironton-Russell Bridge (new bridge) (Greenup County, Kentucky)
Cable-stayed bridge over Ohio River on South 2nd Street Extention (Ironton)
August 25, 2016: Added
Majestic Collieries Bridge (Mingo County, West Virginia)
Abandoned truss bridge over Cedar Creek on Old Norfolk & Western Line
June 27, 2016: New photos
Freeburn Railroad Bridge (Mingo County, West Virginia)
Pratt through truss bridge over Tug Fork on Norfolk Southern Railway
June 25, 2016: New photos
NS - Tug Fork Bridge (Mingo County, West Virginia)
Baltimore through truss bridge over Tug Fork on Norfolk Southern Railway
June 25, 2016: New photos
Burnt Mill Bridge (Scott County, Tennessee)
Abandoned Pratt through truss bridge and a half-hip Pratt pony truss (both pin-connected) with wooden decks over Clear Fork River on Scott County Road 276 (Honey Creek Loop Road)
June 17, 2016: New Street View added
Ft. Robinson Bridge (Sullivan County, Tennessee)
Concrete tee beam bridge over Dry Hollow Branch on Fort Robinson Drive
March 20, 2016: New Street View added
Ft. Robinson Bridge (Sullivan County, Tennessee)
Concrete tee beam bridge over Dry Hollow Branch on Fort Robinson Drive
March 20, 2016: Added
Bugscuffle Road-Garrison Fork Bridge (Bedford County, Tennessee)
Steel stringer bridge over Garrison Fork Creek on Bugscuffle Road ((NFA A187)
January 24, 2016: New Street View added
Bugscuffle Road-Garrison Fork Bridge (Bedford County, Tennessee)
Steel stringer bridge over Garrison Fork Creek on Bugscuffle Road ((NFA A187)
January 24, 2016: Added
Caney Fork River Bridge (Smith County, Tennessee)
Warren through truss bridge with King "A" frames over Caney Fork River on US 70N (SR 24)
January 17, 2016: New photos
B.B. Comer Bridge (Jackson County, Alabama)
Cantilevered Warren through truss bridge over Tennessee River on State Highway 35 at Scottsboro
December 8, 2015: Updated by Calvin Sneed: Despite offer of $1 million dollars to preserve and maintain the bridge, the Jackson County Commission fails to act. This one hurts deeply: http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/local/story/2015/nov/27
CNTP - Tunnel 15 (Scott County, Tennessee)
Abandoned tunnel on Abandoned Railroad
November 29, 2015: New photos
L&N - Duck River Bridge (Marshall County, Tennessee)
Warren through truss bridge over Duck River in Northern Marshall County
October 5, 2015: New photos
CSX - Bridgeport Lift Bridge (Jackson County, Alabama)
Warren through truss bridge over Tennessee River Barge Channel on CSX Railroad
September 21, 2015: New photos
Williamson Tunnel (Mingo County, West Virginia)
Tunnel for Norfolk Southern Railroad, Kenova Subdivision
September 18, 2015: New photos
Scott Creek Bridge (Jackson County, North Carolina)
Concrete tee beam bridge over Scott Creek on West Main Street, Business U.S. 23
June 9, 2015: New Street View added
Scott Creek Bridge (Jackson County, North Carolina)
Concrete tee beam bridge over Scott Creek on West Main Street, Business U.S. 23
June 9, 2015: Added
Scott Creek Arch Bridge (Jackson County, North Carolina)
Concrete arch bridge over Scott Creek on Business US 23 in Sylva
June 3, 2015: New photos
Old L & N Clinch River Railroad Bridge (Anderson County, Tennessee)
Two-span Polygonal Warren through truss bridge over Clinch River (Melton Hill Lake) in Oak Ridge, Tennessee
May 13, 2015: New photos
Norris Dam (Campbell County, Tennessee)
Bridge over Clinch River on US 441
May 13, 2015: New photos
Backbone Rock (Johnson County, Tennessee)
Tunnel under Backbone Rock on TN 133 between Damascus VA and Shady Valley TN, Tennessee
May 13, 2015: New photos
CSX Copper Ridge Tunnel (Knox County, Tennessee)
Tunnel under TN Highway 62 on CSX Railroad
May 13, 2015: New photos
Richland Creek Bridge (Grainger County, Tennessee)
Arch bridge over Richland Creek on NFA 2473 (Sa 2910)
May 12, 2015: New photos
Flat Creek Bridge (Knox County, Tennessee)
Closed spandrel concrete arch bridge over Flat Creek on NFA 1262
May 12, 2015: New photos
Marion Memorial Bridge (Marion County, Tennessee)
Lost 2 Parker K-Hybrid Camelback through trusses, and 2 Warren through trusses with Polygonal top chords, all riveted, over Nickajack Lake (Tennessee River)
May 12, 2015: New photos
American Legion Memorial Bridge (Sullivan County, Tennessee)
1 2-span Warren Riveted through truss bridge over Holston River, South Fork on U.S. 421 (State Highway 34)
May 12, 2015: New photos
NS - French Broad Bridge #5 (Cocke County, Tennessee)
4-span Baltimore through truss bridge on Norfolk Southern Railway, one of only 2 Baltimore (Pratt) through truss railroad bridges in area--other is on CSX Railroad at Starnes Slant, VA
May 3, 2015: New photos
Hatfield North Tunnel (Pike County, Kentucky)
Tunnel under Hatfield Ridge on Norfolk-Southern Railroad
January 17, 2015: Updated by Calvin Sneed: Added pictures, updated tunnel specifics
Hatfield South Tunnel (Pike County, Kentucky)
Skewed tunnel on Norfolk Southern Railroad, Pocahontas Subdivision
January 17, 2015: Updated by Calvin Sneed: Sorry.. tunnel specifics
Hatfield South Tunnel (Pike County, Kentucky)
Skewed tunnel on Norfolk Southern Railroad, Pocahontas Subdivision
January 17, 2015: Updated by Calvin Sneed: Added pictures, updated bridge specifics
Hatfield North Tunnel (Pike County, Kentucky)
Tunnel under Hatfield Ridge on Norfolk-Southern Railroad
January 17, 2015: Added
Blythe Ferry Bridge (Meigs County, Tennessee)
Deck plate girder bridge over Tennessee River (Chickamauga Lake) on State Highway 60
November 9, 2014: New Street View added
Blythe Ferry Bridge (Meigs County, Tennessee)
Deck plate girder bridge over Tennessee River (Chickamauga Lake) on State Highway 60
November 9, 2014: Added
Hutsell Truss Bridge (Meigs County, Tennessee)
Abandoned one-lane bedstead pony truss bridge over Big Sewee Creek
November 9, 2014: Added
Big Sewee Creek Bridge (Meigs County, Tennessee)
Derelict pin connected Pratt through truss with missing deck over Big Sewee Creek on Fezzell Rd
November 9, 2014: New photos
Big Sewee Creek Bridge (Meigs County, Tennessee)
Derelict pin connected Pratt through truss with missing deck over Big Sewee Creek on Fezzell Rd
November 8, 2014: Updated by Calvin Sneed: Fixed name and road listed with the National Register of Historic Places, added pictures
CSX - 13th Street Overpass (Campbell County, Tennessee)
Deck arch bridge over N 13th Street on CSX Railroad
August 24, 2014: New photos
Norris Dam (Campbell County, Tennessee)
Bridge over Clinch River on US 441
August 24, 2014: Updated by Calvin Sneed: This bridge was already added in September 2013
US 441 Norris Dam Bridge (Anderson County, Tennessee)
Concrete girder bridge over Clinch River on US 441
August 24, 2014: Updated by Calvin Sneed: Added pictures, and updated statistical and technical data
US 441 Norris Dam Bridge (Anderson County, Tennessee)
Concrete girder bridge over Clinch River on US 441
August 24, 2014: New photos
French Broad River Bridge (Madison County, North Carolina)
Concrete tee beam bridge over French Broad River on U.S. 25 (Dixie Highway), U.S. 70
August 24, 2014: New Street View added
French Broad River Bridge (Madison County, North Carolina)
Concrete tee beam bridge over French Broad River on U.S. 25 (Dixie Highway), U.S. 70
August 24, 2014: Added
The Old Red Bridge (Madison County, North Carolina)
Pratt through truss bridge over Spring Creek on Pedestrian Trail (old Andrews Ave)
August 24, 2014: New photos

Recent Comments 

Posted April 18, 2017

Alex, the video gave me chills of the train crossing on the bridge, and the train horn is so nostalgic. Thanks for capturing and posting this part of Americana!

Posted April 18, 2017

Drivers with 18-wheelers trying to drive across our elegant steel truss bridges that can't support the weight, sadly is not new. An 18-wheeler in the early 1960's led to the demise of the Eastman Road 4-span camelback Warren w/verticals truss bridge over the South Holston River in Kingsport, TN.. the driver made it across the first span, but the weight slowly dropped the second (channel) span into the river before he could clear it. The entire bridge was eventually taken out and not replaced. Fortunately, the next two-span Pratt bridge about 8 blocks away over a tributary on the same road still stands because he did not make it that far. That bridge is closed now and photographed as an historic ruin.

Make them and their companies pay for the bridge replacement. That might get everybody's attention.

These are also the same drivers who see the signs on how tall tunnel openings are, but still drive their trucks into them and wedge them tight.

Posted July 25, 2016

Historic Marion County bridge and its 2 K-hybrid camelbacks demolished, 2016

Posted January 19, 2016

I just couldn't let this grand ole gentleman disappear without paying homage to it.

Posted November 29, 2015

Hiked to this portal entrance.... weeds, fallen trees and overgrowth may soon make the only way to get to it impassible.

Saw evidence that water is flowing into this entrance from further back, meaning the water is flowing downhill. That indicates that the south portal is at a higher elevation than the north portal more than 2,500 feet away. That makes sense, because USGS maps show the elevation of this portal is 1,355 ASL, the north portal elevation 25-hundred feet away is 1,326 ASL and further down Tunnel Hollow at the old New River Bridge on this abandoned line is at 1,225 ASL.

Posted September 13, 2014

As a bridgehunter, I am not fond of cable-stayed bridges (there is a plethora of them on the Ohio River now), I can see the elegance and grace in them. They do have a place in the skyline of bridge majestry that I can appreciate. I tend to agree with Luke and Nathan on this particular one.

But I will have to admit, the historic cantilever that this one replaced, was the more elegant, more magnificient structure. Sorry to see it go, and sorry I did not get to see it before it was summarily dismissed and pulled down.

Posted September 12, 2014

Echo that.. what a beautiful structure!

Posted June 10, 2014

Turns out the new deck was for the new bridge that was about to start construction, replacing the through trusses. I was able to grab pictures about 2 months before the trusses were removed. T-DOT strengthened the decking and then took out the trusses, but utilized the original bridge piers.

Posted June 4, 2014

Seems like there is one company that just makes prefab'ed steel truss bridges, and they just reassemble them on site at a crossing. Southwest Virginia has a bunch of them, too. They don't have as much character as the older ones, though.

Posted November 12, 2013

Deleted the 3 photos Mr. Hollowell referred to. Admittedly, they were blurry although they didn't look to be when I uploaded them.

When I come across a bridge structure as magnificent as this one, it is difficult to contain my excitement.

I will try harder to keep that in check, sir.

Posted June 13, 2013

Nice detail in the pics!

Posted June 2, 2013

Great photos, Alex! Older pics are hard to come by, and these are fantastic.

Posted June 2, 2013

Please tell me where the blurred pictures are, and I will gladly remove them.

Your comments would have been much more appreciated, had you sent them to me privately, instead of in a public conversation. My email is posted.

But I realize that today's generation would rather criticize publically.

BTW.. where might we sample some of your photos?

Posted May 30, 2013

I'll address some of the comments about "too many photos."

I am not a "shutterbug." I am a photographer by nature.. each picture I take, tells a story focusing on a subject, whether by angle, by lighting, by positioning, or by George.. there is a reason that picture needs to be taken. The bigger the bridge, the more opportunity to show the sheer majestry of the structure.

I guess I'm not like most bridge photographers. I get up close and personal with each structure, to document the way it was built and the method by which it was built, right down to each rivet, each beam, each truss, everything perfectly measured and formed. I become one with the framework. They don't make bridges the way the bridges spotlighted on Bridgehunter.com are made, and that method is something to be preserved.

I also take lots of pictures because with the frequency of demolition, many of these old splendid giants are living on borrowed time. The more pictures logged, the more of a record of how elegantly it was made.

Oh yeah... I guess I could take 3 or 4 pictures of a bridge and be content with every bridge looking exactly like the next one downriver, but I think bridgehunter.com is more than just a superficial glance at bridges. I feel like it is a collection of what makes a classic bridge special, what endears it to the history of the area where it's located, and what makes it part of the fabric of the era that it was built.

I have been a member of bridgehunter.com for years, and the website has never had a limit to the number of pictures that anyone can post. Although I cannot speak for him, I have indeed spoken with Mr. Baughn several times, and I don't believe he intended to place a limit on the number of pictures. I found him to be an avid bridgehunter, often in awe of these magnificent structures, and very appreciative of the contributions that are made that capture the elegance and engineering of them.

BTW, several sets of bridge pictures that I have taken have been selected by the National Park Service, several bridge building companies, city governments and universities, for educational purposes. Also, several sets I have taken of bridges in use have highlighted problems within a particular bridge's makeup, and bridge owners have thanked me for pointing out repairs that need to be made, to preserve the bridges.

Thanks for your support, fellow bridgehunters.. On to the next one!

Posted March 17, 2013

Updated; new photos..

How are preservation efforts going?