New Memorial Bridge

Photo by Dwayne

Memorial Bridge over the St. Johns River

US Hwy 17

Memorial Bridge PlaqueThe first concrete bridge over the St. Johns River was built 1926-1927 just to the south of the railroad bridge and parallel to it. The river is a mile wide at this point.  There was one span which raised in 2 sections to allow the boats to come through.  A bridge tender was on duty to open the bridge.  A horn on the boat would be blown three times to alert the bridge tender.  Since there was only one on duty for a shift, that person often would mosey down the street 2 blocks to Angel's Diner for a quick bite to eat and some conversation.  It took time for him to return to the bridge.  Often the boat's horn would sound 2 or 3 times more before the bridge would begin to open.  

There were not (and it is still true in 2010) very many bridges across the St. Johns.  Green Cove Springs is the next crossing north and Hwy 44 near Deland is the one to the south.  It was therefore imperative that this bridge  photo by Dwayne
stay in working order.  Sometimes there were breakdowns.  The county jail was just a few miles away and the prisoners were brought to the bridge to hand crank the bridge open.  They would have to climb down over the side of the bridge on a metal ladder to get to the area where the mechanism was to do the manual opening.

On either end of the bridge were bronze statues of service men, an eagle sitting on top of the world and a plaque with information. The Memorial Bridge was "Erected to the memory of soldiers and sailors of Putnam County, Florida".

Memorial Bridge was replaced with a four-laned hi-rise bridge alleviating the opening and closing of the span for tall boats to pass under the bridge and to allow additional traffic crossing over to flow more quickly. The men are still at the ends of the bridge.  The markers and eagle/world statues now grace the entrance to the Historical Museum located west of the Bronson-Mulholland House.  

Historical Museum, Palatka

Bridge plaque

Memorial Draw Bridge
photo by Herbert Wilson
Bridge marker

Soldier e/s
Photo by Dwayne Carr

Bridge marker

Memorial Draw Bridge2
Photo by Herbert Wilson
Bronze Sailor

Bronze Soldier
 These 2 Bronze Statues graces the entrance to the Memorial Bridge on the Palatka side. A standing tribute to the defenders of our freedom.

The 2 below are from the East Palatka side of the bridge.

Soldier on NE side
  Photo by Dwayne Carr 
Return to Putnam
2010 Fran Smith