ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Swann Covered Bridge, Alabama
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Swann Covered Bridge, Alabama
Swann Covered Bridge
Built in 1933, the historic Swann Covered Bridge
spans the Locust Fork of the Warrior River and is
located in Blount County, Alabama.
Swann Covered Bridge
Also called the Joy or Swann-
Joy Bridge, the covered bridge
is the longest still standing in
A Tunnel of Timber
The view down the longest
surviving covered bridge in
Alabama is impressive.
Swann Covered Bridge
The beautiful old bridge is
one of the most picturesque
in the South.
Swann Covered Bridge - Blount County, Alabama
Historic Swann or Joy Bridge
Spanning the Locust Fork of the Warrior River
in Blount County, the historic Swann Covered
Bridge (also called the Joy or Swann-
Joy bridge) presents one of Alabama's most
stunning sights.

The longest surviving covered bridge in
Alabama, the Swann Covered Bridge was
built in 1933 and is one of the most
remarkable in the South because it stretches
across a deep canyon. The gorge was
carved by Locust Fork, which makes its way
through the mountain country to become a
major tributary of Alabama's Warrior River.

The three span bridge was built by Forrest
and Zelmer C. Tidwell to connect the Blount
County communities of Cleveland and Joy.
Since it was located on property owned by
Swann Farms, it was generally called the
Swann Bridge, although some residents
also called it the Joy Bridge became it was
on the road leading to Joy.

The length of the main span across the
rushing water of Locust Fork is an
impressive 75 feet, while the total length of
the bridge is 330 feet. It has a vertical
clearance of 13 feet and a deck width of 16

Restored by the Blount County Commission
in 1979, the bridge was reopened to
vehicular traffic in October 2012.

Covered bridges were once important to
transportation across the South. Prior to the
development of modern concrete and steel
construction techniques, wood was the
primary building available to bridge builders.
Because wooden bridges quickly
deteriorated due to exposure to rain, snow
and the elements in general, the idea of
adding a cover became popular as a way of
protecting the bridge floors and extending the
life of the structures.

Alabama was once home to more than 35
covered bridges, but most disappeared over
the years due to deterioration, neglect, arson
or vandalism. Today, eleven covered bridges
can still be seen in the state. Three of them
are in Blount County, which is located just 30
miles northeast of downtown Birmingham.

In addition to the Swann Bridge, Blount
County is also home to the Easley and
Horton Mill Covered Bridges. The latter
structure holds the distinction of being the
highest covered bridge above any waterway
in the United States.
The Swann Covered Bridge is listed on the
National Register of Historic Places and is
once again open to car traffic. It is a beautiful
and historic landmark that is well worth a visit
if you are passing anywhere near the area.

From U.S. Highway 231 in Cleveland, head
west on State Highway 160 for 2.8 miles to
Nectar Circle. Turn right (north) on Nectar
Circle for half of a mile and then turn right
(north) on Joy Road.

Follow Joy Road north for 2.4 miles and then
turn right (east) on Swann Bridge Road. Just
follow Swann Bridge Road for 1.5 miles until
you reach the historic bridge.

A great way to learn more about the covered
bridges of Alabama is to check out the state's
official "Covered Bridge Trail."
Please click
here to visit the trail website for more
Photos by Lauren McCormick
Copyright 2011 & 2012 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.

Last Update:  November 15, 2012
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