3 votes

Old Rooster Bridge


Old Rooster Bridge

View this photo at snopes.com

BH Photo #205498

Street View 


Lost Through truss bridge over Tombigbee River on former Hwy 80 route
Demopolis, Marengo County, Alabama, and Sumter County, Alabama
Built ca.1925; Demolished 1980
- Waddell & Harrington of Kansas City, Missouri
Vertical lift through truss
Approximate latitude, longitude
+32.43097, -88.03446   (decimal degrees)
32°25'51" N, 88°02'04" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/402746/3588678 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Inventory number
BH 49193 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • August 27, 2013: New photo from Douglas Butler
  • July 25, 2011: New Street View added by Jason Smith
  • July 25, 2011: Added by Ben Tate


  • Ben Tate - benji5221 [at] yahoo [dot] com
  • Monument - Flickr photo of monument to those who donated roosters to the auction for the bridge
  • Jason Smith - flensburg [dot] bridgehunter [dot] av [at] googlemail [dot] com
  • Douglas Butler
  • Rooster Bridge Auction - President Wilson's $55,000 rooster


Old Rooster Bridge
Posted July 25, 2011, by Ben Tate

Historical Marker:

"Side A

In 1919 a rooster sale organized by Frank Derby raised money to begin construction of a bridge over the Tombigbee River at Moscow Ferry. This was the last link in the completion of the Dixie Overland Highway between Savannah and San Diego.

The idea was “to bridge the ‘Bigbee with cocks”: Roosters would be solicited from world-famous persons and an auction and barbeque held in the city of Demopolis for the benefit of the bridge.

Congressmen “Buck” Oliver, Admiral William S. Benson, and Secretary of Navy Josephus Daniels helped sell President Wilson on the idea. He and the others of the Big Four, Lloyd George, Clemenceau, and Orlando, who were meeting at the Versailles Conference, shipped roosters on the USS Northern Pacific. Governor Kilby sent 27 prominent Alabamians to the White House to receive the roosters from President Wilson.

Side B

By August 14, 1919, 600 roosters (and one hen from Helen Keller) had arrived in Demopolis. President Wilson’s rooster auctioned for $44,000. Over $200,000 was pledged, but most was not collected. The names of 88 donors appear on markers at the original site one mile downstream.

With the addition of state and federal funds the bridge was constructed and opened in 1925 as Memorial Bridge. Always known locally as Rooster Bridge, the name was officially changed in 1959 when a bill sponsored by Sen. E. O. Eddins passed the State Legislature. In July, 1971, a bill sponsored by State Representatives I. D. Pruitt and R. S. Manley was approved, which decreed that all future bridges over the Tombigbee at Moscow would be named Rooster Bridge and bear plaques relating the unique plan devised by Frank Derby in building the first bridge."

Old Rooster Bridge
Posted July 25, 2011, by Ben Tate

"As the result of a sale of some 5,000 roosters on August 4-5, 1919, a bridge is to be built across the Tombigbee river at Demopolis, Alabama. Thus another obstacle on the Dixie Overland highway is to be removed. The bridge is to cost about $175,000. The rooster sale netted about $250,000 [approximately $50 each]. The additional funds will be utilized to improve the road and the approaches to the bridge in Marengo and Sumter counties. The work will be carried on under the direction of the State Highway Department of Alabama.

Four of these birds were donated by President Wilson, Lloyd George of England, and Premiers Clemenceau of France and Orlando of Italy. The idea of the rooster sale came from F. L. Derby, a stockman of Alabama.

The "Rooster Bridge," as it was known, served traffic on the Dixie Overland Highway and U.S. 80 until 1980, when it was demolished and replaced by a bridge on new location. A second parallel bridge was built at the new location.

A 1971 resolution passed by the Alabama Legislature decreed that any bridge or bridges that cross the Tombigbee River at that point shall bear the name Rooster Bridge"


Old Rooster Bridge
Posted July 25, 2011, by Ben Tate

Here's an amazing article about how a tug boat got sucked underwater under the bridge and reemerged on the other side.


And here's the photos that show it: