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Walnut Street Bridge, Chattanooga

Categories: Bridges, Landmarks, Tourist Spots
Inspirock Rating:
4.6/5 based on 150+ reviews on the web
Built in 1890, the Walnut Street Bridge was the first to connect Chattanooga, Tennessee's downtown with the North Shore. According to a plaque on the bridge, Edwin Thacher was the chief engineer for the bridge. The bridge's superstructure was assembled by the Smith Bridge Company of Toledo, Ohio, which was a prolific late 19th-century bridge builder. The bridge's substructure was constructed by Neeley, Smith, and Company of Chattanooga. Most of the parts for the bridge were manufactured by Manly Jail Works of Dalton, Georgia and then shipped to the site by rail. The bridge's main spans are pin-connected Pennsylvania through truss spans. The top chord of these truss spans are configured in five sections, making the spans similar to the Camelback truss design. The bridge is historically significant as an extremely long and old example of its type; according to the Historic American Engineering Record: "The bridge was apparently the first non-military highway bridge across the Tennessee River."A former Union officer from Ann Arbor, Michigan, William Andrew Slayton (1854–1935) was the stone contractor. Slayton lived in a stone house at 533 Barton Avenue, the house known for years by later inhabitants as the location of the "Little Art Shop." It is not known if he built this house, but similarly to Washington Roebling and the Brooklyn Bridge, he could overlook the project from his window. Many of the low stone walls in North Chattanooga are made up of the remnants of stones deemed too small for use in the piers. Subdivision plats in Chattanooga suggest that Slayton developed some areas to facilitate the hauling of materials from quarries in northeastern Alabama, and Slayton Street and Slayton Avenue are found near the current public library location on Broad Street. Slayton's obituary fails to note that there is no stone on his grave at Chattanooga Memorial near Red Bank, Tennessee.
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  • you can't go to Chattanooga without walking from the south shore to the north shore and the bridge is the best way to do it! Utilized by all the locals; great for walks, runs, dog walking, sight seein...  read more »
  • This is a foot traffic or bicycle bridge only. People walking their dogs, babies in strollers. The river is lovely. Benches along he way to sit....great idea. 
  • We visited the bridge during the Wine Over Water festival and found it to be a gem in Chattanooga. You can see the city from a nice, photo worthy, perspective. Since it is a pedestrian-only bridge, yo...  read more »
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