This was taken Father’s Day weekend near sunset. I’d taken several photos from the bridge down toward the dam and river. I was maybe only 1/5th of the way out from the eastern bank, and even here, you can feel the sway and up-and-down movement when cars pass. It’s not my favorite feeling, to say the least.
I’d turned around to come back, when I got to thinking about this bridge’s most distinguishing feature… its curve. There are very few curved bridges in the world and even fewer this long.
I wanted to show the effect of the curve, which basically means, when shooting straight down the railing, you can’t see the end of it. I got down on my knees to shoot this one (actually five shots) and tried to make sure I got a decent shot of the rocks below (so that you can get a sense of the height), and the building on the far shore (just to the left of the water tower) so you can get a sense of its length. The vanishing point in this photo is about the midway point of the bridge. Here’s a good Google map view.
The old boy is in need of a paint job, but I like that it’s such a pretty reddish color beneath the paint.
Below is an excerpt from The Wetumpka Herald written in 2010 about the 70 year anniversary of the completion of the bridge.
Tallassee’s important Fitzpatrick Bridge, which connects the eastern and western sections of the city separated by the Tallapoosa River, will have been open for 70 years on Dec. 10, 2010.
The large structure debuted with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and extensive parade on that date in 1940.
Prior to the construction of the bridge, the route between the two sections of the city took motorists and pedestrians across the privately-owned Tallassee Mills railroad bridge, also located just below Thurlow Dam.
The Fitzpatrick Bridge’s construction is a steel arch truss style, and is one of three of that type in Alabama.
It is a rare curved version (at 2-1/2 degrees) of such a style, and it is 1,738 feet long, and the floor of its road span is 140 feet above water level.
It also has a declining grade from west to east… the east end is thirty feet lower than the west end.
According to an archival issue of The Tallassee Tribune, construction of the bridge included the use of some 4 million pounds of steel forged in Birmingham, 27,000 sacks of Alabama cement, 10,000 tons of Alabama sand and gravel, and an estimated 500,000 feet of Alabama timber were used in building temporary fixtures and scaffolding.
The bridge is named for former Alabama governor, Benjamin Fitzpatrick, and was dedicated by his great-granddaughter, Mrs. C.H. Chichester, at the 1940 ceremony.