BRIDGES—Question

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I am attempting to locate the oldest bridge in Madison Co. This is the oldest I have found so far. HELP  do you know of and older one? I do know some private land owner constructed the earliest bridges in 1890’s maybe earlier but they have been replaced by County and State bridges.. I also know the railroad companies constructed bridges in 1850’s for their use. What I am looking for is the first County and State bridges used by private travel— wagons, cars, trucks and buses. 

On the bridge question I know that most bridge construction across Tennessee stop durning WWI because of lack of steel. 

 Began again after the war but when in Madison Co.

Wanted to review a citizen of Jackson Tn. That made a difference in the roads and bridges in Madison County and across the country. Of historical interest during this early Good Roads period is Sam Lancaster of Jackson. Born in Mississippi, his family moved to Jackson when he was a child. There he studied engineering at Union University until his father’s death ended his formal education. He then went to work for the Illinois Central Railroad as a construction engineer. In 1888, the Illinois Central Railroad had provided Jackson leaders, and others, a free trip on its rail line to view improved road and sewer systems in other cities. As noted elsewhere, railroads were a leading component of the Good Roads movement and viewed good local roads and local prosperity as a means to bolster their own economic stability. Following this, in 1889, the city of Jackson hired Lancaster as the city engineer. Lancaster installed sewer, water and light systems, paved streets, and parks. However, the most far-reaching project was to replace muddy roads with a half-million-dollar model system of hard-surfaced roads in and around Jackson, which he implemented in 1903. The following year, Lancaster wrote an article about this project that was published in the Department of Agriculture’s Yearbook, then the national department in charge of roads. This article enhanced Lancaster’s career, pushing him onto the national stage. Tennessee’s loss was the nation’s gain: the Secretary of Agriculture James Wilson soon appointed him a consulting engineer with his office and sent him on a nationwide tour extolling the virtues of good roads. Lancaster soon left to work in the northwest, where he was the engineer for the Columbia River Highway, an extraordinary road system that was considered one of the greatest engineering feats of that era and now designated as a National Historic Landmark. For that project, Lancaster functioned as not only the engineer but also as a landscape architect, carefully developing a road system compatible with the existing idyllic setting. As one historian has noted, “Lancaster’s single most important lifetime accomplishment — his master lifework

While searching bridges  I came across this and thought it was interesting.

What’s in a name? TDOT….

In 1915, the state legislature established a state highway department and the Tennessee Highway Commission, a three member non-paid commission. The state agency was called the Tennessee Department of Highways until 1923, although during this time, the name Tennessee State Highway Department appeared in many official documents. Under Governor Austin Peay, in 1923, the state restructured many departments, and the highway department became the Tennessee Department of Highways and Public Works. In 1972, the title was changed to its current name, the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT

Ok ,that the end of today’s history lesson.

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