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Buchanan Swinging / Suspension Footbridge


Foot Bridge over the James river

Photo taken by Panoramio user G Day

License: Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs (CC BY-ND)

View this photo at panoramio.com

BH Photo #267601

Street View 


One of Buchananís most recognized architectural structures is the Buchanan Swinging Bridge. The Bridge is 366 feet long, 57.5 feet tall and the only one of its type to cross the James River. Portions of the bridge date back to 1851 and have witnesses Hunterís Civil War Raid, the rerouting of U.S. Route 11, and numerous floods. In 1999 the Swinging Bridge was recognized as a National Register Historic Landmark.

Portions of the large stone piers rising from the James River were constructed in 1851 as part of the Buchanan Turnpike Companyís Toll Bridge. Toll for every person to pass through this wood covered bridge was five cents with an additional five cents for each horse, mule or oxen and five cents for each wagon. On June 13, 1864 the covered bridge was burned by Confederate General McCausland in an effort to prevent Federal troops from crossing the James River on their way to Lynchburg. The bridge was rebuilt following the war but washed away in a flood of 1877. At this time, the R&A Railroad Company rebuilt a toll free covered bridge. In 1897 this wood covered bridge was replaced with a steel bridge that remained in use until 1938.

In July of 1937 construction of the current concrete James River Bridge was started with an agreement with the Town under Mayor C. W. Blount to maintain pedestrian access to Pattonsburg via the swinging bridge. On July 4, 1938, the new bridges were dedicated by former Governor E. Lee Trinkle as speaker. For more than 150 years, portions of the Buchanan Swinging Bridge have played a critical role in the Town of Buchananís history while providing a scenic pedestrian crossing earning it the role as symbol of the Town of Buchanan and is proudly featured on the Town Seal.

[From TownofBuchanan.com]


Bridge over James River on Pedestrian Walkway
Buchanan, Botetourt County, Virginia
Open to pedestrians only
Stone supports built 1851
Stone support piers
Approximate latitude, longitude
+37.53030, -79.67794   (decimal degrees)
37°31'49" N, 79°40'41" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
17/616812/4154524 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Inventory number
BH 58261 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • September 20, 2020: New photo from Glenn Celerier
  • February 20, 2020: New photo from Geoff Hubbs
  • October 7, 2014: New photos from Patrick S. O'Donnell
  • October 2, 2013: Added by Dave King


  • Dave King - DKinghawkfan [at] hotmail [dot] com
  • TownofBuchanan.com
  • Patrick S. O'Donnell - 1 [dot] 991km [at] comcast [dot] net
  • Geoff Hubbs
  • Glenn Celerier - celerier [dot] bridgehunter [at] gmail [dot] com