Summer is getting away from me, two more weeks and school will start. I had big plans the beginning of the summer to take some little jaunts away from Granny Mountain. Then the heat set in... and still hasn't gave up it's grip on us. Every day it's almost 100 degrees, too hot to hike or sightsee or have a picnic. It's even too hot to get out on the lake. I can't believe I've said that, I didn't think it was ever too hot for lake fun. So when GRANDson Gavin spent the night this week I
"Let my fingers do the walking"
on the Internet and found someplace close to Granny Mountain that might be fun to go visit.
It didn't take long to find a great website Bridge Hunters, an amazing database of historic bridges, past and present in the US, complete with pictures to peak your curiosity. Less than 20 miles from here was the Old Wire Tunnel Bridge, a concrete arch where the Arkansas-Missouri Railroad goes over and road traffic can go through! Built in 1920, it's a history lesson and fun excursion all in one fell swoop!
We drove out to Avoca and turned off highway 62 onto county road 1703. It twists and turns for several miles, snaking it's way back toward the community of Brightwater. You won't find it on a map... if you are too small to have a post office then you aren't a city or town, you're just a community. That's not to say you aren't noteworthy, there are neighbors and churches and happy families there.
It's where someone calls home and for many it's the only place they would ever want to live. Rural America is where some of us can't imagine ever leaving, and where some people could never imagine making home.
Wherever you live, there are interesting old bridges just like this one waiting for you to discover them. Sometimes you find them when you decide to drive down a road that you've always wondered, Where does that go?" Taking the time to do this is a little harder these days, it takes time to kill+gasoline. I often can see old bridges here in the Ozarks just off the main roads we are travelling. Every year tourists flock to see the beautiful covered bridges of New England, but the old truss bridges across the US offer beauty, history and they are still being used... a testament to the men who built them.
A horse-drawn wagon crosses a bridge in Arkansas in 1939
(Photo courtesy AHTD)"It may seem silly, but this is where the study of historic bridges can prove useful. Some of these structures have stood unaltered for decades, just as our great-great-great-ancestors would have seen them. They may have been originally designed to carry horse-drawn wagons, but some are still capable of handling heavier automobiles today... if they receive proper maintenance and repairs.
Railroads have disappeared. Whole towns have vanished or relocated. Buildings have come and gone, or been remodeled beyond recognition. But bridges have remained intact, a silent reminder of our ancestor's way of life, and a tribute to skillful engineers who had no comprehension of modern school buses or SUVs -- and yet were able to build structure capable of standing the test of time."