Although I was born in SW Arkansas in 1933, I spent most of the first ten years of my life in South Texas and Central Mississippi in the Avalon/ Greenwood area. My first memories of crossing the river at Lake Village/Greenville were of crossing on the ferry boat that the Greenville Bridge replaced.
In February 1943, shortly after the bridge opened, we moved to Montrose, Arkansas where my mother and father lived until their deaths in the 1980's. I graduated from high school at Lake Village in 1951, the United States Naval Academy in 1956 and spent 22 years in the Armed services. During these years, I crossed the bridge many times visiting my parents and even" bombed it electronically" several times when I was a navigator on B-52's at Columbus Mississippi, in the late 1950's and early 1960's.
In 1989, my wife and I moved back to Lake Village and lived there until 2001, when we moved back to Texas for family health reasons. I know first hand how much the old bridge has meant to generations of people on both sides of the bridge and to millions of travelers who have used the bridge through the years. When we left, we sold our home on Lake Chicot to the Project Engineer for the new bridge. I am sure he is overseeing the building of a fine and unique new bridge that will serve many more generations of local residents and travelers. May God bless their endeavors.
Joe Pope, Col. USAF (Ret.)
Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas
March 31, 2003
I was born in Greenville, spent
most of my young life there, and the bridge is one of
those things in life that was awe inspiring (the largest
thing around Greenville in 1955). The class ring design
of the 1955 Graduating Class of Greenville High contains
a replica of the bridge.
After all the wear and tear of
48 years, I still enjoy taking out that old ring and
sharing stories about THE BRIDGE, Greenville Air Force
Base, the beautiful trees on Main Street and two-way
traffic on Washington Avenue, with my Grandchildren.
When the old bridge comes down, all of the above will
have disappeared. They will be only memories surrendered
to different elements.
Jean Horton Armstrong
January 26, 2003
Every time I pass over the Greenville
bridge, I feel the history and work that was poured
into it. This is especially true to me since my great-grandfather,
Jim Bryant, painted the bridge many years ago. I guess
it is just nostalgic to me. It is a piece of history
that will not be forgotten.
December 9, 2002
I grew up in Lake Village, Arkansas in the 40s and 50s.
I have four photographs of bridge construction that
were probably taken in the winter of 1940 that I found
in my father's possessions after his death. I would
be happy to share these with you if you are interested.
November 22, 2002
Editor’s Note: View Mr. McRaney’s
photos by clicking on the thumbnail image. The 1940
time frame would appear to be correct. Events in these
photos –- from the progress of construction to
the ice on the river –- match those shown in pictures
taken by Massman Construction, builders of the 1940
I was born and raised in El Paso,
Texas. My parents’ families lived in Greenville
for many years and some still remain. Our summer vacations
were spent in Greenville. One of my favorite sites has
grown to be the Greenville bridge, although as a youngster
I was frightened and I would hide as we drove across.
But I knew when it came into sight, we were almost at
Grandma’s house. The sounds of driving across
that bridge still echo in my mind like a favorite tune.
This bridge also reminds me of my favorite poem, "The
Bridgebuilder" in which my favorite line is:
"This river that has
been naught to me to a fairhaired youth may a pitfall
be, he too must cross in the twilight dim, fine friend
I build this bridge for him."
El Paso, Texas
October 6, 2002
I was born and raised
in Greenville; I currently reside in Memphis. The bridge
was intimidating, and fascinating to me. I always thought
of it as a powerful steel horse perched in the Delta
When I got my driver's license at age
15, my parents trusted me enough to drive them across
the bridge to Lake Village, Arkansas. I must say that
this experience was as unnerving as landing an F-16
on an aircraft carrier at night.
Clyde Brown, M.D.
July 9, 2002
The Greenville Bridge was fascinating
to me as a boy, and soon-to-be structural engineer.
I had no idea of its stature among major truss bridges.
I just knew that, in height and span, it was the most
impressive bridge I had ever seen by far!
It seemed incredible that we could see,
from my sister's home miles away in Lake Village, the
blinking warning lights on top of it.
My mother frequently would comment "It
looks so delicate". My brother-in-law, John Fish,
finally replied, "You wouldn't think it was so
delicate if you had seen what happened to that airplane
that crashed into it!"
Robert B. Nelson
AFCO Steel, Little Rock, Arkansas
January 14, 2002
Editor's Note: In 1951, a jet from
the nearby Greenville Air Force Base (no longer in operation)
struck the bridge and exploded, killing the pilot and
causing a large fire. The accident was recalled in a
August 29, 1976 Delta Democrat Times newspaper interview
with Joseph Pierini, who had managed the Greenville
Bridge for more than a quarter century. Though the crash
caused $175,000 dollars in damage, the bridge was reopened
to traffic after 22 hours.
I remember many trips across the Greenville
River Bridge, I guess some of my fondest are of returning
from Arkansas (during the 1970's), and having to stop
at the state inspection point on the Mississippi side
of the bridge to be asked whether we had any plants,
vegetables, or fruit to declare. I guess it was supposed
to be a way of controlling the spread of the infamous
boll weevil. I also remember losing a fine Episcopalian,
my Acolyte advisor and friend, Mr. Sease, to a head-end
car crash on the bridge."
Brad Jones, Greenville, Mississippi
October 27, 2001
Maury McGee, granddaughter of Benjamin
G. Humphreys, is remembered as the girl who cut the
ribbon during the dedication of the first Greenville
Bridge. Ms. McGee sent us the following note, along
with three photos from September 17, 1940:
"As you can
see, I rode out to the bridge in a convertible with
Granny, followed by another car with Bom, Ug, C.L. (nicknames
of her brothers and sisters) and Mama. It was a long
day, with Granny fussing at me (my hair and dress) and
eventually with my cutting the ribbon. I can't really
remember any details -- except when I got home, quickly
discarded the hat, dress, etc. and changed into my 'tomboy'
Mildred "Maury" McGee - Sewanee,
September 14, 2001
Editor's Note: We regret to report
that Ms. McGee passed away on April 25, 2002 at the
age of 73. We remember Ms. McGee's role in the history
of the Greenville bridges and we appreciate her taking
the time to contribute to our web project.
What has the old Greenville Bridge
meant to you over the years? Contribute to our Greenville
Bridge Memory Book by sending your stories, recollections
or comments to us via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have old or historic photos of the bridge to
contribute, please let us know and we will make special
Note: You must submit your name,
city of residence and e-mail address to have your submission
considered for use. We reserve the right to edit submissions
for clarity. All submissions become the property of
the Mississippi Department of Transportation.