Rockport Railroad Bridge.
View Is Looking Downriver.
Picture has been altered to create a "Canvas Effect".

Photo and Stat by jrd on 4/20/04.



Greetings and a good afternoon.....

As you can see, the old Rockport Railroad Bridge is featured in this stat.  I have an hour or so to kill and thought that I would try to place some words together to form another story or "History Event" concerning this old bridge.  While the event is not of much importance to but a few, it may bring back memories of a childhood in which we played a part in growing up in this small town or for others, a similar place and a similar bridge....

This story concerns a young girl that never lived long enough to become a mother, but her short history was used by many a parent to caution their children on the dangers of this old bridge and of the Green River.  Please be advised that some parts of this story will be unpleasant.  Will try to keep the "Gore" to a minimum.

This bridge was something to marvel at during the earlier parts of the Twentieth Century.  The "River Crossing" consisted of two bridge sections that rested on three piers.  The center pier or "Middle Pier" supported the two different sections in the middle of the river.  Building a bridge across a river in those earlier days was a feat in itself.  To build one that would support a train was an added bonus.  Now, to have a section that would rise off the pier and become almost vertical was some feat of engineering.  This lifting of the bridge was necessary in order for river traffic to be able to pass under the bridge. 

I realize that most of you know the method and the means of lifting this bridge section off the pier and out of the way so as to not impede river traffic.  A few others may not know how it is possible and for those, I will present a short version of "Bridge Lifting", course 101. 

Looking at the picture, it is difficult to pick out just how the bridge section is connected to the pier.  If you will look closely, there seems to be a lighter or gray colored section on the upstream side of the pier.  This is a large hinge and another one is located on the other side.  It works just like a door hinge.  One part of the hinge is connected to the pier and the other one connected to the bridge.  Now, if enough power was available, the bridge section could be "Opened and Closed' and in this case, "Raised and Lowered".

If you will look at the picture again, you will notice a large structure just above and to the left of the pier.   A part of that structure is hidden from the trees.  There is also a little shelter located near the center of this structure.  This structure is basically a counterweight.  Now, with a relatively small electric motor and using the forces of gravity, it does not take much power to raise and lower the bridge section.  To the left and below the little shelter is a massive concrete section.  This concrete block is basically the "Counter Weight" with the steel part of the structure holding it in place.  This concrete block is massive and about as large as four or five full size trucks placed together.  Grating, steps and handrails are used for safe access to the shelter.  Have told more that I need, if this story is going to be about a young girl, but felt that some idea of the concrete block was needed.

With all of that said, this part of the bridge would be an ideal place for a young person to explore.  A daytime view, as well as a nighttime view would be worth the climb.  Most youngsters think they are indestructible and will not be concerned about the dangers of the explorations of this old bridge.

Many years ago three young people, a female and two males, made such a trip to the bridge.  The young girl was a teenager from Greenville and was visiting a female friend in Rockport.  She ended up exploring the bridge with two teenage boys.  They were above the concrete structure, taking in the night view of the area when the girl slipped and fell to the concrete structure.  She probably never took another breath after hitting the concrete.  Another couple nearby heard the commotion and rushed to the scene.  Nothing could be done and a young teenager was gone forever.  Many parents have told this story to their children and thus, they knew the dangers of this old bridge.  I am sure that all of us were affected.  It did not prevent up from climbing on, in and around the bridge, but did cause some thought when we were doing such. 

This event in history was a little before my time.  I would place a date in the early to mid thirties.  The story has been "Handed Down" from generation to generation.  I am sure that bits and pieces have been added to make the event more scary and/or to stress to children the dangers of exploring the bridge.

One such "Bit" concerns a scream emanating from the concrete section of the bridge.  I have been told that if you will visit the bridge at midnight and be quiet, you will hear a scream.  This "Scream" occurs every night in some tales and only on Friday nights in other versions.  The fatal fall happened before midnight on a Friday night.  I have never heard the scream, but I have not been on the bridge at midnight.  I have been there in late evening and been there in early morning, but never at midnight.  The story from my parents may have worked.

Another such "Bit' concerns an area on the concrete structure where you can see something that could resemble the internals of the girl's head.  Most of the young boys of Rockport have climbed the structure and observed this spot.  A young man's imagination may lead them to believe that no amount of erosion from wind and rain could remove the blood and brains from the concrete.  Whether it is blood and brains, I don't know.  At the time that I witnessed it, I walked away thinking that it was from the girl.  Mildew, mold, and especially moss will tend to grow on such places, but I don't want to analyze this phenomenon and take away from the story as it was told to me.

If you are still reading this, I want to thank you.  Again, if you see something that you know to be untrue, please feel free to let me know.  Also, I would appreciate pertinent information that I may have left untold.  A story told some fifty-five years ago may have some added items and there may be some items left out.  Irregardless, I have only jotted down what I can remember and I make no claim that all written is factual.    

See you......
jrd
 


Stationery by jrd

The Two Love Birds Pictured Are Not Identified.

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See You.........
jrd