Today is the 100th anniversary of a time that roosters built a bridge.
Ok, not literally, but the bridge wouldn’t have been built without the birds. A group of people in west central Alabama wanted to put a span over the Tombigbee River, to complete a longer path between Georgia and California.
But bridges need money, and the locals needed to raise it themselves. A man called Frank Derby had an idea: hold a two day auction, festival and barbecue to sell off birds donated by some of the most prominent people of the day.
That included roosters sent by then-President Woodrow Wilson and the leaders of the UK, France and Italy, and movie stars like Mary Pickford. Helen Keller even sent a hen.
The auction in the community of Demopolis, Alabama raised over $200,000. Not all of the money pledged actually came through, but it was enough to convince state and federal authorities to cover the rest of the cost.
The bridge opened to traffic in 1925. It was officially called the Memorial Bridge, but everybody called it – and still call it – the Rooster Bridge.
If you’re a mycologist, it might do you good to head to Telluride, Colorado, for the opening day of the Telluride Mushroom Festival, looking at the latest developments in mushroom science, and hosting a massive mushroom cook-off. You have to think Mario and Luigi would be happy to serve as judges.
The Rooster Bridge: How one man’s vision paved the way (West Alabama Watchman)
The Rooster Bridge Historical Marker at the US Hwy 80/Tombigbee River Bridge (Rural SW Alabama)