Built in 1925 the Snow-Reed Bridge is the oldest operating metal pony truss swing bridge in the state of Florida. A real piece of history just blocks from where we live. The bridge was named after two Fort Lauderdale mayors that served during the construction.
When the bridge was originally built there were deer grazing and Indians hunting along the banks of the New River. Now you can see that there are houses with their boats parked behind them on the river. How life changes.
Today, the bridge is a part of the 400 block of Southwest 11th Avenue, which connects historic neighborhoods of Sailboat Bend and Riverside Park. The Fort Lauderdale Historical Society has designated the bridge as historic property #19.
We wanted to post a few photos of the bridge actually closing to help you get a feel for how it works. It was amazing to stand there just a few feet from the edge and watch the bridge slide into place at the end of the road.
The bridge tender has a tiny little house photographed here. That little spot that you see on the side of the house is the plaque, pictured above, from the historical society
When a boat approaches, the bridge operator, a woman today, leaves the operator's house at the north end and walks to the center of the bridge. From there, the operator lowers the barricades and swings the bridge open and shut. During a power outage, the bridge can be swung open by hand.
A few months ago there was a scandal relating to the bridge tender and this swing bridge. A local reporter enamored with the bridge decided to do a small story on the bridge. He went to talk to the bridge tender and when he did his story, she got fired for talking to him. That created a bigger story and led to an investigation that discovered that the city was outsourcing the job of tending the bridge to the tune of almost $140k a year. The company was paying the bridge tender $9 an hour. Do the math.
If you are interested to know the fate of the poor lady who got fired you can follow some of these links. It is a good human interest story.