A City Without a Bridge

Shared from Picnooga

1888: Toward Hill City. The current-day view is approximately from the south end of Veterans Bridge looking toward North Chattanooga. It would be 2 more years before the Walnut Street Bridge would be completed; the city left without a bridge after the 1867 flood washed away the military bridge built by Union troops during the Civil War.

Note on back: A Christmas gift from W. O. Townes

There was once a fine bridge across the Tennessee, at Chattanooga, but it fell a victim to a great flood a few years ago [1867]. The Chattanoogians (sic) have been so busy since erecting new warehouses, new railroad-depots, and new hotels, that they have forgotten the piers of masonry in the river-bed, which in grim solitude seem to utter a protest against their neglect. Not that we, searchers for the picturesque, would have had it otherwise -- for a bridge would have deprived...us...of one of the quaintest ferries in the country. It is a rope-ferry, having for motive-power the river-current. A long rope from the ferry-boat, supported at regular intervals on poles resting on small flat-boats, is attached, several hundred feet up-stream, to an island in mid-water. The boat thus secured is pushed from the shore. when it begins to catch the force of the current, the boat is swiftly propelled on the arc of a circle across the stream....The groups upon its decks were striking. There were sportsmen with a great following of dogs, horsemen,. vehicles, and groups of cattle,...On the opposite shore, as we drew near, were visible great numbers of waiting horsemen and cattle, giving evidence of the active business of the ferry, and emphasizing the wonder that the bridge has not been restored.
0. B. Bunce, "Lookout Mountain and the Tennessee," in William Cullen Bryant's Picturesgue America Vol. I