Arkansas PBS > Programs > Historic Bridges

Historic Bridges

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Some bridges still standing in Arkansas are nearly as old as the state itself, but each year several of these structures are being lost to the ravages of time and the demands of a modern roadway system.

"It is not practical or even possible to save all these historic structures," AETN Executive Producer Carole Adornetto said. "However, Producer Casey Sanders has done the next best thing, she's produced a very special program for our audience so that the stories and importance of these bridges can be archived and placed in the fabric of Arkansas life for generations to come."

In order to preserve these monuments and memories for the future, AETN partnered with the Arkansas Highway Department to produce this film.

"Our hope is that this program will heighten the awareness and appreciation of these structures, which most of us take for granted," Adornetto said. "It is a reminder of how bridges have served us through the years in very real ways."

Featured in the program is Hendrix College Assistant Professor of Art Maxine Payne, an artist and photographer who has photographed and chronicled historic bridges in the state for the highway department for the past three years. Payne has been responsible for not only capturing the bridges' unique qualities visually, but also for exploring the connections to the lives of Arkansans. She works in multimedia installation as well traditional photography. Maxine grew up in rural Arkansas, and her work is colored by this experience.

Accompanying Payne's aesthetic impressions of these bridges, Robert Scoggin, historic resources coordinator for the Arkansas Highway Department, offers commentary in the program on the more "hard facts" about the structures, the importance of preservation, locations and the historic significance of the engineering and materials that made them dependable for so many years.

Also included in the program are interviews with individuals with strong connections to and vivid memories of the various bridges. Eloise Wallace, whose father was a country doctor who traded his horse for a car to make his rounds when the Wallace Bridge was completed over the Fourche La Fave, shares her story. A man who survived a frightening incident on the DeValls Bluff Bridge over White River relates his tale, and Mary Ann Messick reads a poem her father wrote to honor the White River Bridge at Cotter.

Click on the images below for a larger view and bridge information.
Last Updated 28 Jun 2018