Swann Bridge

Swann Bridge_2013_16_0096

Alabama was once home to more than 35 covered bridges, but most have disappeared over the years due to deterioration, neglect, arson or vandalism. Today, eleven covered bridges can still be seen in the state.

Swann Bridge_2013_16_0029


Swann Covered Bridge is located in Blount County, near Cleveland (one mile west of Alabama 79, northwest of Cleveland). Built in 1934, across the Locust Fork of the Warrior River, the 324 ft. long bridge is currently the longest surviving covered bridge in the state and the fourth longest one to have been built.

Swann Bridge_2013_16_0187

The Bridge was built on property that once belonged to Swann Farms. Therefore, it is generally known as the Swann Bridge, although some residents used to refer to the bridge as the Joy Bridge, because it was on the road leading to the community of Joy.

Swann Bridge_2013_16_0192

After having been closed to motor vehicle traffic in 2009, it was restored and reopened on October 22, 2012.

14 thoughts on “Swann Bridge

  1. Love these covered bridges, Phillip. They remind us of time gone by and provide a look back into time. You’ve photographed these very well and I really like the last shot with those great wood tones.

    Nicely done!

  2. A beautiful series, Phillip. Very interesting to see all that detail in the last two photos. They don’t build bridges in this style either back in Australia, or here in Chile, and that got me thinking as to why they do build them. Wikipedia says it’s to protect the interior from rain and sun. I then remebered there was a movie featuring them, and sure enough, this Wikipedia page, (“Covered bridge”), has a link to The Covered Bridges of Madison County, the novel that the movie was based on. But there’s even more, as the author, Robert James Waller, is also known for being a musician and photographer. How about that!

    1. Thanks Andrew. Great movie. I’ve read several places about different reasons for building cover bridges. I don’t know if there is one particular reason. It is true that a covered bridge last longer than an uncovered bridge. Another reason was said to give protection to those caught out in the weather. However, my favorite one is that it helped settle the horses down that might have been afraid of a regular bridge. Because a covered bridge was made to look like a barn, and also the horses couldn’t see well because of the enclosed sides.

  3. Wonderful series of images Phillip. These structures are indeed fading quickly and it is great to capture them when you still can.

    1. Thanks Len. I remember when they closed the three remaining bridges in this particular county. I never thought that they would find the funds to repair them. However it was nice to see that the people came together and help raise enough money to have them reopened.

  4. It’s great that the state took the initiative to restore this covered bridge; lovely story and wonderful pictures!

    1. Thank you Dani. I’m not sure of the exact figures. I expect that both the county and state governments at least helped in the expenses of this project, as they should. However, I was especially thrilled to hear that at least a portion of that money was picked up from a grass root effort of like-minded people who wanted to save these bridges. They worked hard and put their time and money into a project that they believed would benefit the whole community. When people come together like this, they take ownership of a project. It becomes mine bridge, and you had better take care of my bridge. I had better stop or else I might start telling you how I really feel! 🙂

      1. I’m glad to hear that the locals participated in the bridge restoration too. You’re right. There is beautification, there is ownership, there is a sense of community and care-taking that can only enhance an area.

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