Walnut Street Pedestrian Bridge
All About The Walnut Street Pedestrian Bridge
The Walnut Street Pedestrian Bridge is a late 19th-century bridge, is the longest pedestrian bridge worldwide. This bridge connects the North shore and Chattanooga and is an attraction that tickles the fancy of both the locals and foreign tourists. The chief engineer during the construction of the bridge was Edwin Thatcher. Below, we tell you everything you need to know about the Walnut Street Pedestrian Bridge.
A Short History
While the bridge is a beautiful place to be, it holds a sad history that cannot be erased. Initially, the bridge was supposed to connect the black workforce on the north with the south side. However, things took a turn when two black men were hanged on the bridge’s first span for following a woman on Valentines of 1893, and a third man was hanging on the second span on March 19, 1906, for attacking a white woman. Eventually, the bridge was closed down in 1978 due to security concerns, old age, and repair costs. It remained unused for nearly ten years, after which it was modified into a pedestrian walkway and was reopened in 1993. Today, it is a city park that opens to the public from dawn to midnight.
The bridge currently stands tall as it tells a story of restoration and revitalization. In 1990, the bridge was added to the National Register of Historic Places. It is the centerpiece that still connects the North Shore to Hunter Museum of American Art, Tennessee Aquarium, Bluffs view District, and Tennessee Riverwalk. It remains one of the top venues that people choose for special events and even everyday activities.
During special events such as Octoberfest, Wine Over, and even smaller events, the bridge is used as a place to relax, take a stroll or enjoy the Chattanooga scenery. You can bring your pet with you, but ensure you put them on a leash.
Construction and Design of the Bridge
The Walnut Street Bridge is made of wrought-iron and steel. The steel substructure was made by the Company of Chattanooga, Neeley, and Smith, while most of the others were manufactured by Manly Jail Works. As the asphalt surface of the bridge begun to deteriorate, it was replaced by wood planking. Tower Construction was tasked with the repair work. The original plagues were renamed to the Parks Foundation, which was responsible for improving, enhancing, and programming matters related to public spaces and parks.
How to Get to the Walnut Street Pedestrian Bridge
If you want to access the bridge, the best thing to do is to find parking is at Coolidge Park. If you prefer the downtown area, Ross’s Landing parking near the TN Aquarium is your best bet. You will walk approximately 10 minutes uphill to get to the bridge.
Is the Bridge Worth Visiting?
Yes. Definitely. You will enjoy visiting, especially during events such as the Riverbend Festival, Wine Over Water, and the Seven Bridges Marathon. While all these are different and unrelated events, they capture the essence and spirit of Chattanooga.