Sunday, June 20, 2010

Swann Covered Bridge - Blount County, Alabama

The sight of the historic Swann Covered Bridge stretching across the gorge carved by the Locust Fork of the Warrior River in Blount County is one of the most impressive in Alabama.

Built in 1933 to link the communities of Cleveland and Joy, the bridge is the longest surviving covered bridge in Alabama and is one of three still standing in Blount County. It is located near the modern city of Cleveland about 30 miles northeast of Birmingham.

Charming and picturesque today, covered bridges were developed by our ancestors as a way of extending the lives of wooden bridges. In the days before concrete and steel were commonly used in bridge construction, most spans were made of wood. As such, they were susceptible to rot from rain, snow and the elements in general. To better protect the flooring so the bridges would last longer, early bridge builders began fitting the structures with covers.

The Swann Covered Bridge, also sometimes called the Joy Covered Bridge because it was on the road to Joy, was built by Forrest and Zelmer C. Tidwell. Over 300 feet long, it features a main spain that is an impressive 75 feet long. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1981.

Easily accessible from U.S. Highway 231 at Cleveland, the bridge no longer carries traffic but is popular for sightseeing and photography. To learn more, please visit

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