As the Story Goes...

The old-timers used to talk about the days before the bridge. For more100 years, a ferry had transferred passengers back and forth across the White River at Clarendon. Many travelers made their way through Clarendon, traversing the first “all weather road” from Little Rock to Memphis completed in 1828. In those days things were different—roads were more like trails continually breached by the rivers and swamps of Eastern Arkansas. Rivers like the White were the interstate highways, smooth, continuous and offering plenty of places to stop off along the way.

 

Before the state of Arkansas reached its centennial, the Big White River Bridge (BRWB) was constructed, opening in 1931. It was a significant feat in the road to progress and overland automobile transportation in Arkansas. The day the ribbon was cut, Monroe County saw festivities that have not since been rivaled. The city held a two-day celebration that included boat races, high-diving feats, a parachute jumper, a parade, a circus, and speeches given by officials from across the state, commemorating the magnificent structure.

 

No longer did the road-weary traveler have to make the arguous three-mile journey along the forest floor, using a boat or ferry to cross the bayous, rivers and low spots. The Big White River Bridge was now the open road through the treetops, traversable in all weather and all seasons.

 

Today, the historic bridge has served the surrounding communities and countless travelers for more than 80 years. Now, it is in great peril. Scheduled for demolition in early 2015, the BWRB will be replaced by a modern-day girder bridge. Our mission is to save the BWRB for historic preservation and adapted use for cyclists, hikers, and pedestrians, as an avenue for economic development in the Delta.

 

© 2018 Friends of Historic White River Bridge at Clarendon