6 votes

Glaze's Ford Bridge


Glaze's Ford Bridge

Posted January 7, 2017, by Mary Noel

BH Photo #527854

Street View 


Glaze's Ford is the original location on the Nolichucky River where the bridge was built in 1901, by the early 1920's, it became known as the Smith Bridge. A flood in 1901 delayed construction, and the middle pier had to be rebuilt. When finished, it was described by the contractor as "a first-class modern steel superstructure upon massive piers of solid masonry." Extensive repairs in 1912-1913 including rivets that strengthened the pin connections, top and bottom eyerods and top and end chords.

Pony truss on north end has an unusual 15-degree skew as the former road abruptly connected to the bridge around a curve on the side of a hill.

Because of the riveted structure (way before its time), the masonry piers, and the skewed pony truss, this bridge is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.


Pratt through truss bridge over Nolichucky River
Washington County, Tennessee
Closed to all traffic
Future prospects
Available for reuse
Built in 1901 at Glaze's Ford, flood damage repaired and strengthened in 1912-1913, closed in 1983 and left intact on private property
- E.N. Matthews
- Southern Bridge Co. of Birmingham, Alabama
(1)8-panel, pinned Pratt through truss
(1)6-panel, pinned Pratt through truss
Riveted Pratt pony truss built on a skew of 15 degrees.
Length of largest span: 140.8 ft.
Total length: 294.0 ft.
Deck width: 11.7 ft.
Eligible for the National Register of Historic Places
Also called
Smith Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+36.19662, -82.63768   (decimal degrees)
36°11'48" N, 82°38'16" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
17/352760/4006999 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
1402 ft. above sea level
Inventory number
BH 45837 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • March 30, 2022: New photos from Tony Dillon
  • March 30, 2022: New photos from Melissa Brand-Welch
  • July 3, 2014: New Street View added by Ralph Demars
  • July 1, 2014: Updated by Fmiser: Removed "through" from the pony truss description
  • August 9, 2010: New Street View added by Calvin Sneed
  • August 8, 2010: Added by Calvin Sneed


  • Calvin Sneed - us43137415 [at] yahoo [dot] com
  • Fmiser - fmiser [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Melissa Brand-Welch - melissabrandwelch [at] msn [dot] com
  • Tony Dillon - spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com


Glaze's Ford Bridge
Posted July 21, 2017, by Cheryl (Broylesville [at] gmail [dot] com)

Do you know if there was a bridge in this location prior to the one above or if the Glaze's Ford mentioned below is the same? In 1813 the townspeople petitioned the court of Washington County to allow a saw mill "tto be built on Little Limestone creek JUST below the waggon ford on said creek (which is the road leading from Jonesborough to Glaze's ford)." I know this is the Nolichucky but just wondered about the use of the term "Glaze's ford" in 1813. Thank you! Cheryl

Glaze's Ford Bridge
Posted January 7, 2017, by Mary Noel

We have done some research on the bridge - it's still in place (2017) but showing deterioration of the concrete deck. The Bridge's name was changed by the County early in the 1900's to Smith Bridge (a Glaze daughter who lived near the bridge married a Smith). Originally bridge had a wood deck that was replaced by concrete in the 1960's. It was painted a bright silver when open - traces of paint still visible in protected corners. The bridge was decommissioned in the mid-1980's. E.N. Matthews, one of the principal bridge engineers, ended up marrying a gal who lived in the brick foursquare adjacent to the bridge (our house) and lived the rest of his life here in Limestone, TN - building a farm about a mile up the road from the bridge.

Glaze's Ford Bridge
Posted October 30, 2014, by Jason Smith (JDSmith77 [at] gmx [dot] net)

An article on the bridge and Craigslist is enclosed here. Do you think a bridge would best be sold there, or are there other alternatives to selling it? What do you think? Link: http://thebridgehunter.areavoices.com/2014/10/30/selling-a-h...

Glaze's Ford
Posted August 4, 2014, by April (amuncy86 [at] gmail [dot] com)

I went searching for this bridge yesterday afternoon, in the late 80's early 90's my grandparents would drive me down to look at it. It was already closed to the public before I was born, however she told me stories about how they nicknamed it the "praying bridge" I guess it was a little scary to drive over the river on it. I would love to see this bridge on the historical register. It's sad that I wasn't even really able to see it, due to the overgrowth and all the NO Trespassing signs.I am kind of left wondering why a little industrial treasure like the Glaze's ford bridge is kept away from the public. I do appreciate the information on this page, I never knew the full history behind it.

Glaze's Ford
Posted July 2, 2014, by Fmiser (fmiser [at] gmail [dot] com)

While looking at this bridge information, I noticed the "75 degree skew" - which I found quite remarkable. In looking at the photos, it did not seem that extreme. Puzzled, I looked at satellite images. This suggest the skew is about 20 degrees.

Then the light dawns - maybe the author was measuring from the perspective that a straight bridge has a skew of 90 degrees. Then "75 degrees" would translates to "15 degrees". Much closer to the photos and satellite images.

Since all the definitions I know of have a straight bridge as zero degree skew, I changed the "75" to "15".

Glaze's Ford
Posted July 1, 2014, by Fmiser (fmiser [at] gmail [dot] com)

Sorry Art. Can't lawfully copy the text or the picture without permission of the copyright holder.

It looks like Calvin Sneed has lots of photos of the bridge, so I'm not sure the one photo from Craigslist is really necessary.

Glaze's Ford/Smith Bridge
Posted July 1, 2014, by ArtS (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)

Bridge for sale with house:


Can someone bring the content and pictures of the ad over before they disappear?