PLUNK GENEALOGY -- see "Family" label on this blog and/or write Mike at

Monday, January 28, 2008

You Can Tell You're From Memphis If . . .

. . . you know what to call our four bridges that span the Mississippi River (which, by the way is the world's fourth largest river).

The first bridge to cross the river at Memphis was the Frisco in 1892. That's an easy one. It's the railroad bridge.

Next was the Harahan Bridge. Built in 1916, the wooden structure claimed the lives of 23 construction workers before completion. The wooden planks were removed ages ago to prevent usage, but the superstructure remains. Generally, no one calls it anything. I think it gets mentally blended with the railroad bridge. They're snuggled up next to each other.

The first modern bridge across Big Muddy was the Memphis-Arkansas Bridge, finished in 1949. There's even a sign in the middle of the bridge to indicate when you've crossed from Tennessee waters into Arkansas water. I've never noticed that the water looks much different, though. This is the one known as the "old bridge."

Upriver from the three bridges is the "new bridge." It went into service in 1971. More than 30 years old, the Hernando DeSoto Bridge may forever be the new bridge. Even newscasters refer to it as the new bridge, although I heard one reporter call it the "M Bridge." You can tell why from the picture above. You can spot a newcomer a conversational mile away: they call it the I-40 bridge.

Gotcha, yankee!

No comments: