2 votes

Powhatan Swinging Bridge


Historic photo

Photo provided by the Arkansas Highway & Transportation Department

BH Photo #100627

Street View 


Lost suspension bridge over Black River on old US 63 at Powhatan
Lawrence County, Arkansas
No longer exists
Built 1925-26; made obsolete by free state ferry in 1938; removed in 1952
Wire suspension
Length of largest span: 382.0 ft.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+36.08165, -91.11577   (decimal degrees)
36°04'54" N, 91°06'57" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/669655/3994648 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Black Rock
Inventory number
BH 10413 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • May 5, 2018: New photos from Leslie Sessums
  • October 7, 2016: New Street View added by Dana and Kay Klein
  • July 3, 2016: New photos from James Baughn



Powhatan Swinging Bridge
Posted November 1, 2022, by Billy Donovan (eagle84usa [at] gmail [dot] com)

Below is a website dedicated to town of Powhatan with many pictures of the bridge and ferry that used to be there. It also shows on an aerial view where the ferry was and the pylons and towers for the bridge are located.


Auto Accident Death at Powhatan Swinging Bridge
Posted March 3, 2020, by Kent Benn (black71habu [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Trying to verify some information about an automobile accident on 24 Sept 1938 at the bridge. Records indicate that the accident was a fatality resulting in the death of 21 year old Oral John Wagoner, also known as Dode, a resident of Hoxie at the time. Family lore says that two other people were in the car at the time, namely my father, Kent R. Benn, and Dode's girlfriend Vera Park. My father and Vera would marry in the mid 1940s.

Powhatan Swinging Bridge
Posted November 30, 2012, by Michael Pomeroy (cme4kd [at] aol [dot] com)

My grandfather and two of his brothers opened an Otasco store in Black Rock after my grandfather returned from WWII (if I am remembering the story correctly as told to me by my mom). They had a great business going until the new bridge was built because people were afraid to cross the old suspension bridge. This meant that shoppers on the West side of the river were a captive audience, so to speak. Once the new structure was built, people from Powhatan and Black Rock had easy access to Walnut Ridge, and it was bye-bye Otasco!

Powhatan Swinging Bridge
Posted May 2, 2012, by Pearl DeFreese (pearl71270 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

We crossed this bridge many times in my childhood. Loved that old bridge.

Powhatan Swinging Bridge
Posted March 26, 2012, by Bill Rider (bfsnrider [at] aol [dot] com)

We crossed this bridge sometimes when I was a small boy. It was narrow and high and very scary. The cross planks were always loose and clattered as you hit each one. The longitudinal planks formed two tracks about 2 feet wide where you were supposed to drive. There was a curve in the bridge on the east side, adding to the fear factor. The bridge always shook as you drove along.

Powhatan Swinging Bridge
Posted September 14, 2010, by Peggy (kelly [dot] peggy [at] yahoo [dot] com)

Harry E. Bovay, Sr. was my grandfather we are trying to collect any information about his bridges for historic purposes. Please contact me with any information you might have. kelly.peggy@yahoo.com

Powhatan Swinging Bridge
Posted May 23, 2010, by Ron Hutchison (ron319 [at] centurytel [dot] net)

I was born in 1944 and remember crossing this bridge with my family several times. Always scared. My dad would tell us to hold our breath to make us lighter! Of course we could never last the whole trip.

Side note. My grandmother and grandfather rode horseback from the Clover Bend area to the courthouse in Powhatan to get their marriage license. My grandmother rode side saddle!

Powhatan Swinging Bridge
Posted July 12, 2008, by Anonymous

Fantastic childhood memories, going from RiverView to Walnut Ridge, over this bridge. There was a fee to cross it. (also if you took the ferry) But to me a beautiful expanse of water as we "rumbled and shook" crossing over the one lane bridge. Mom, scared, saying "watch out", Daddy laughing as he drove along. I enjoyed it along with Daddy.

Powhatan Swinging Bridge
Posted August 12, 2007, by Carol (Luther) Lay (MrsBlazo [at] aol [dot] com)

My Mom went across the bridge in a rumble seat....she is now 74..that must have been a scarey ride !

Powhatan Swinging Bridge
Posted June 22, 2006, by Anonymous

The four main span concrete pillars are still standing on sight.

Powhatan Swinging Bridge
Posted January 25, 2006, by JB Webster (jbwebster [at] cox [dot] net)

I lived in Paragould, AR, in my teenage years and often with my family we'd travel U.S. 63 between home and Missouri. We never traveled over this bridge; too scary looking, according to my father, and besides, there was a toll. The state operated a free ferry a short distance upriver and we'd utilize that crossing. Whoooeeee! These photos justify my father's fear.