Rock Island Railroad Bridge
Photo taken by C Hanchey in July 2011
BH Photo #205012
The plaque is located on the first pier about half way up the side. It is on the very first pier on the Warren County side of the Caney Fork River. This pier is on dry land and the brick work is excellent. It is excessable via Cotten's Marina, just off of old Hy. 70S (The Rock Island Road).
Thanks for the photo of the plaque, as it illuminates association of this bridge with the company that famous engineer Albert Fink worked for... Where specifically is this plaque located on the bridge? One of the abutments?
It has been rumored that this bridge was raised to accommodate the rising waters of the Great falls lake. However, the bridge has never been raised in elevation. The Benchmark at Rock Island is 880 feet. The support piers were encased in concrete to protect the masonry brick work that the piers were originally constructed of. See photo.
Rock Island, Tennessee is located in Warren Co. not in White County. The bridge was built between 1871 and 1872. It spans approximately 660 ft.in length.
Just wanted to add a view from the bridge on Powerhouse road looking into this bridge
"Rock Island" is a nearby community in White County, Tn. The nearest post offices are Rock Island, Tn. 38581 and Walling, Tn. 38587.
Googlemaps has a pretty good street view of this bridge taken at several spots on the Rock Island road highway bridge.
This bridge was built for the Memphis & Charleston RR on its disconnected branch line from Tullahoma, Tn. to Sparta, Tn. The end of track can be seen on Googlemaps at "Depot St.," Sparta, Tn. The depot is still there but the tracks stop short.
The bridge crosses Great Falls Lake (1917) on the Caney Fork River.
The bridge piers were raised (1922), when the dam was raised by 35 feet, to provide clearance over the lake. The concrete caps are visible on top of the original stone piers.
A pier on the south side of the lake has a stone plaque set into the stonework describing the railroad company and the officials involved.
This branch line was accessed over the Nashville & Chattanooga R.R. (later N.C. & St. L. Ry. > Louisville & Nashville R.R. > CSX) from the M&C connection with the Southern Ry. (now Norfolk Southern) near Chattanooga, Tn.
Today the railroad track and land is owned by the Tri-County Railroad authority and operated by the Caney Fork & Western RR.
The Rock Island referred to in this bridge's name can't have anything to do with the former railroad, and is probably related to the local geography. The Rock Island RR never got near this area; the farthest it ever penetrated into Tennessee being Memphis.