HATCHIE STATION BRIDGE


Photo Dr. Danny Winbush

HATCHIE STATION BRIDGE

In 1928 the State of Tennessee contracted to build a steel bridge across the Hatchie River at Hatchie Station. This bridge replace the ferry that once connected Madison Co. to Haywood Co close to the Hillville Community.

The bridge was a steel frame with a wood plank floor by early 1930 the bridge was open to all traffic.

It made the trip from Jackson to Memphis easier.

Then came Highway 138 the bridge was in disrepair and the road in Haywood Co. was not maintain since they had  alternate route( Highway 70) to Jackson.

Mr. Charlie Luke told me he and his wife were the last car to cross the bridge. He would get out and moved boards to be able to cross the bridge to reach his home at Hatchie Station.

Then on the morning of Feb. 26, 1946 a neighbor lady went into labor. The men of the community got together and removed the remaining boards off the bridge to fill in a low part of 138 so her husband to get the hospital in Jackson. 

This good deed was the death toll for the bridge. The state did not want to rebuild the bridge since they now had “good” highways. Since Haywood Co actually owned the bridge they had no interest rebuilding the bridge or maintain the roads in the Hatchie Bottoms. Mr. Charlie laughed “that my dear is why I call it the bridge that goes nowhere.”

Mr. Luke gave me the telephone number of the Mullen family. Mrs Mullen was the lady that  was in labor that day.

I called and Bill Mullen answered the phone and I told him the reason for calling. He started laughing and then  informed me his mother at age 96 was still with us.

“But I can tell you about this since it is a part of my history.” He said .

He went on to tell me he was that bundle of joy that came into the world that day. “So believe me the neighbors and my family have told me this story.”We talked for about an hour with him telling what it was like to grow up in his community. 

Now the frame of the bridge just stands there feeling the Hatchie flowing underneath it’s empty floor.

Let’s do imagine this- imagine the bridge being brought back to life. The frame checked out and repaired then the floor being replaced. On the Haywood County side repair the road to the bridge making it a walking and bike trail.Then at the bridge create a picnic area  continuing on  the trail to Estanaula Landing. Can you imagine what it would be like to experience the true beauty of the Hatchie River Bottom.

Original story appeared in Downtown Wanderings Memories and More. d n english 2006

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