by Terry Thornton
On Monday September 28, 2009, I drove across the historic Ironwood Bluff Bridge crossing the Tombigbee River in the southern-most edge of Itawamba County Mississippi.
Many Hill County residents of both Monroe County and Itawamba County remember well this one-lane bridge across the river just north of Smithville --- it was a landmark etched in the minds of thousands of individuals who drove across the bridge north into Itawamba County or who drove south crossing the river into Monroe County.
And most who drove the bridge remember their concerns that oncoming traffic might create a problem for them in crossing this one-lane bridge with runners.
Some will remember the importance of the area in and around Ironwood Bluff from the early days of both counties. Henry Stegall had a warehouse and his river port office at Ironwood Bluff where he received supplies via the Tombigee. He build the Ironwood Bluff Young Ladies Boarding School in the area --- but the major attraction in more recent years was the iron bridge spanning the Tombigbee River.
That bridge still stands --- and is still most usable. The development of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway cut the road just south of the bridge --- so today Monroe County residents who would like to revisit the old bridge of their youth will have to drive a roundabout way to get there --- cross the bridge and then turn about and drive across the bridge to return home.
It is a trip well worth the effort. The video (below) of the bridge came after several days of heavy rain; the river was high but not flooding. The road, Ironwood Bluff Road, leading from Carolina Road/Van Buren Road, was most passable although a few days earlier it had been flooded.
Click the start button below to activate the video which was shot while I drove northwest across the bridge, stopping briefly on the bridge to pan the upstream and the downstream views of the Tombigbee River. The video was recorded on a hand-held Canon Power Shot A520; the noise you hear are sounds of my car engine and music playing on the sound system of the car.
You will enjoy visiting the Tombigbee River Bottom, Ironwood Bluff Road, and driving across the Ironwood Bluff Bridge. Here is a map snippet showing southern Itawamba County with the location of the bridge marked. For a complete map go to Itawamba County Highway Map, Mississippi Department of Transportation at www.goMDOT.com. Left click for a larger image.
Video and photograph of Ironwood Bluff Bridge, Itawamba County Mississippi, September 28, 2009, by Terry Thornton, Fulton, Mississippi. All Rights Reserved.