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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • BRIDGE AT ARGENTEUIL, 1874

Railroad Crossing: 1906

Railroad Crossing: 1906

The Mississippi River circa 1906. "Kansas City & Memphis Railway bridge at Memphis, Tennessee." Where you'll find the Mary Bell. 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

 

The Mississippi River

At times during the spring, the width of the River can be over a mile.

There was a town just on the west side of Memphis in the 1800s that kept flooding that it just became uninhabitable.

During the hot summer days, we would go down to the river to catch a cool river breeze.

Re: Corner Head

It looks like a shantyboat. Cheaply built, non-powered houseboats for rivermen, lumbermen, millworkers. Usually made from whatever lumber could be found or scrounged. Shantyboat communities were common in river towns from the mid 19th to mid 20th centuries.

Corner Head

I'm wondering what sort of trade the Mary Bell was in. Is she a powered boat or a barge? A private houseboat or some sort of commercial floating market? What's the cupola for? The rectangular structure in the aft port corner looks to be the head (outhouse).

Middle bridge now

I have driven across the I-55 bridge next door to this one many times. The lower Mississippi River is over a mile wide in many locations. At this point it is 2400 feet from bank to bank. The three bridges at this crossing are all about a mile long each.

Solitary splendor

It's neat to see the bridge in solitary splendor. It was joined in 1917 by the Harahan railroad bridge 200 feet to the north, and in 1949 by the Memphis & Arkansas highway bridge about the same distance to the south. The three huge cantilever truss bridges make an impressive sight together, like a steampunk mountain range.

The scale of that!

That is a very beautiful photo, but what really caught my eye was the sheer size of the bridge, compared to the tiny barge and the even smaller boats moored next to it. It's amazing! How wide is that river? And how deep?

 
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Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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