An old bridge, better watch your step.

Watch your step there are lots of holes.
Wide-angle shot encompassing the entire bridge. Note the footpath of past people walking to the edge.
View from the end of the bridge. My lovely girlfriend holding her umbrella with the new bridge in the background.
“The rise does not exist without the fall” Author unknown.
“What defines you is not how you fall but how you get back up again” Author Unknown.
View of the foggy river from the end of the bridge.

I began this search out of desperation to see something new that was abandoned. I began some research and began to search through the counties and I came across a website that talked about only abandoned bridges. As I was scrolling, this one stood out to me. It was not far being in Cumberland Virginia in Cartersville. I picked up my girlfriend and off we went on a mid-day road trip. When we arrived it actually turned out to be just to the left of a boat ramp for the James River. Signs indicated that we must be fishing in order to be there so I threw a rod in the water even though it was very high and I did not anticipate catching anything. At this point, I began exploring.

I made my way to the bridge and at first, I was hesitant due to the condition of the timbers. I stepped out on the first few feet of the bridge and tested the timbers. As I ventured further the timbers seemed better and better so I ventured out further and this is where I took the above photo. Holes through the bridge dotted the entire bridge however, there was a clearly worn path of people who had before I walked to the edge. After walking it a few times and getting comfortable with it I began taking photos.

I took a series of photos and after I got my fill we left. Later on, I was doing more research on the bridge and initially, my research indicated it was an old rail bridge but after further research and talking to a couple of people I found out it was actually a single lane automobile bridge. The original bridge was constructed in 1822. With the major portion of the bridge being finished in 1883-84. In the early 70s or late 60s, a major flood in the James river severely damaged the bridge and it was never repaired.

As I was walking up and down the bridge on the Cumberland side, I began to notice a lot of the drawings, notes, and messages written into the bridge. I have included a couple of photos of the drawings above. Messages of motivation and hope kind of added a sense of darkness to the experience. Almost as if it was a suicide jumping bridge or a place where people have gone in times of depression. I am unsure of the true purpose of the writings or perhaps they are just there because someone wanted to write something. However, in my experience of seeing drawings and writings on public property, it seems that motivational and happy stuff is not that common.

This was a cool experience and a surreal visit. I absolutely do not recommend anyone or everyone venturing out on this bridge given that there are decaying timbers as well as holes throughout the deck work. However, if your ever in the Cartersville area be sure and search for the Cartersville boat ramp and view it from a safe distance.

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