Kelli (kellsta) wrote in abandonedplaces,

Harahan Bridge, Memphis, TN

The Harahan Bridge is a cantilevered through truss bridge that carries two rail lines across the Mississippi River between West Memphis, AR and Memphis, TN. The bridge is currently owned and used by the Union Pacific Railroad. That means, if you want to get technical, the rail lines aren't abandoned. So why am I posting this? Because from 1917 until 1949, there were two wooden roads (that's right, wooden) connected to the sides of the bridge that allowed motor vehicles to cross the river. Can you imagine what a bumpy ride that was? Especially if a train happened to be crossing at the same time. The roadways caught fire in 1928 due to stray sparks from a train overhead near the Memphis end. The creosote-soaked planks blazed so fiercely that several sections of the tracks were twisted loose by the heat.

The road was closed in 1949 and most of the planks pulled up. About 20 feet of planks remain on the Arkansas side, in what is now essentially a jungle. You'll see what I mean.

On the Memphis side, you can still see the brick road that leads up to the bridge.

Wooden planks stretched across the single lane. There's an identical lane on the right side of the bridge.

These tracks are still in use by the Union Pacific Railroad.

The bridge in the middle is the Frisco Bridge, owned by BNSF railroad. It's also still in use, but the whole area is generally believed to be haunted. I'm a skeptic. I didn't see anything out of the ordinary.

This was some type of storage room. Locally, it's called the Strange Room. (Info here.) There's another just like it on the other side of the track. This is supposedly the source of a lot of the paranormal activity people have reported. The area is peppered with Indian burial grounds and stories of the yellow fever epidemic of 1878. During the Depression, the bridges were the stepping-off point for many suicides. There used to be a hole in the cinder block doorway, but it's been sealed with more stones and a steel plate. No getting in there.

Sock Monkey comes along on our adventures.

Over on the Arkansas side of the bridge, we were greeted by hibernating jungle. I can't wait to revisit this place in the summer.

Here's the ramp leading up to the wooden road.

Rail spikes litter the ground. We purposefully avoided being under the tracks when a train crossed. I'm sure a falling spike could kill a person.

We had to backtrack in order to find a way up to the back side of the section of remaining planks. We weren't brave enough to walk across them. Well, I was, but I am a bit wreckless and my husband wouldn't hear of it.

I was so proud. He overcame his fear just long enough to stand on the bridge and almost drop Sock Monkey.

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