Join Iris Williams every Tuesday and Sunday evening for a lovely Sunset Yoga practice on the Old Railroad Bridge. Iris will have an all-levels class, from beginner to expert, everyone is welcome. It open to all in the community, and the class is a donation based event, meaning you pay what you are able. A minimum $5 donation is encouraged and appreciated. Part of the proceeds does go to the upkeep of the bridge to keep it a really nice place for people to enjoy.
The class starts at 6:00 pm (ish) and ends approximately 7:00 pm, in time for you to watch the sunset in a very relaxed state of mind.
Iris said that she can’t wait to be with you all on the bridge and be on the mats suspended in the air between water and the heavens, supported by an 1879 structure. Splendid indeed. Please add friends who you feel might be interested in coming to a Sunset Yoga class at this spectacular location.
Iris is on Facebook at SunsetYogaORB and if you want text reminders for the classes, just text “@sunsetyoga” to 81010.
By John P. Blackwell
Richard C. Sheridan retired from TVA in 1988 after 28 years as a Research Chemist, but he also became well-known as a writer and historian in the Muscle Shoals area. So how does somebody make a transition like that?
This journey began for Sheridan at an early age, when he had a desire to read history at his home in west Kentucky. However, while he did manage to get a year of history’ under his belt in college, most of his courses were in chemistry.
After college, Sheridan went to work for TVA in 1960 in Muscle Shoals. He was always one to excel, and that was demonstrated in his TVA career as a Research Chemist. He continued with another career as an adjunct professor at the University of North Alabama.
Sheridan and his wife, Carol, settled down in Sheffield to raise a family of four daughters.
“My history interests were stimulated by a desire to learn about the history of the Shoals, since I did not grow up here, ” Sheridan says.
He began by reading one of the most popular local history books, ‘Two Hundred Years at Muscle Shoals” by Nina Leftwich.
While balancing a career with TVA and family, he still found time to devote to his favorite hobby. In 1964 his first writing was presented at a meeting of the local historical society about Confederate Gen. James Deshler.
His and Carol’s family began to grow more, and today they have six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Sheridan soon became a well -known local historian. He is past president of the Tennessee Valley Historical Advisory Council for the Trail of Tears Historic Trail
He is the official historian for the city of Sheffield.
He served several years as program chairman tor the Colbert County Historical Landmarks Foundation.
He currently serves on the Old Railroad Bridge Board and is a member of the Sons of the American Revolution.
For a number of years, he wrote a history column for the Times Daily. Today, he writes a column for the Kidsville News, which is distributed to schools and libraries in the Shoals area to help children appreciate their heritage.
Sheridan served in the U.S. Army in Germany as part of the occupation forces. ‘”At the time of my enlistment, I weighed 114 pounds and was skinny as a rail,” he says.
Sheridan also has an outstanding career with the local American Legion chapter, where he held many offices such as commander and adjutant and is still an outstanding legionnaire.
Sheridan most recent y has helped write “FDR, TVA, AND CCC — Federal Influence in the Shoals,” which is volume 19 of Journal of Muscle Shoals History.” He also has contributed to “Sheffield History and Recollections,” Volume 18, of Journal of Muscle Shoals History.” It you would like a copy of these books, you can contact Sheridan at 256-3812298 or rcsneridan29@yahço.com.
Sheridan now has about 50 years under his belt as the Shoals-area historian, He says he thinks he has done a good of telling the story of the Shoals, not having grown up here. This validated by how often he is being contacted by reporters and others concerning local history.
Sheridan is a treasure of the Tennessee Valley Authority Retirement Association (TVARA) Shoals area, and the Muscle Shoals TVARA Chapter is very proud to have him as a member.
Original Published in the TVARA News Magazine, December 2015 edition
Republished by permission from the author John P. Blackwell
Recently the Old Railroad Bridge Co., Inc (ORBC) Board members addressed the decay found in cross ties on the upper deck of the Railroad Bridge.
The lower walking deck on the bridge was closed to visitors during the removal of 25 deteriorated cross ties during the week of Sept. 27, 2015. In addition, any part of other cross ties that were deemed to be deteriorated and in danger of falling on walkers below were removed.
Many thanks to those who volunteered to help in this effort. The ORBC’s Board Members continues their efforts to make the bridge a vital and safe place for individuals, groups and families to visit and experience the beautiful Tennessee River scenery.
We covet your support in making the old railroad bridge and connecting trails a must see attraction to all that love the great natural world that is the Shoals.
If you think that the Old RailRoad Bridge is a jewel of the Shoals, then we ask your help by supporting our efforts with a generous donation which is tax deductible. All donations received go directly to supporting upkeep of the bridge and surrounding grounds.
You may make your donations online (via Paypal) or by personal or company check. Click on the donate button below to go to the Donate page. The help is appreciated.
Something new has been added to the area surrounding the Old Railroad Bridge(ORBC) – a small amphitheater. It is located just upstream of the bridge on the edge of the TVA Muscle Shoals Reservation. You can reach this amphitheater by a gravel walkway leading down the river bank for about one hundred feet. It is about seventy five feet from the river bank against a natural bluff and cove, shaded by large trees. There you will find six timber benches with stone bases that can seat thirty five people. From here visitors can learn about the local environment, conservation, and wildlife and will be encouraged to see and value the world around them. They can explore a part of the community they might otherwise not know existed so near to home.
This area presents a unique opportunity to provide experiences along nature trails, natural habitats and river scenery. People of all ages will experience an atmosphere of discovery and stewardship of our natural world. Whether you are a teacher with a group of students, scout troops on a hike, or just someone who enjoys getting in touch with nature, this amphitheater is the place for you. From here you can connect with the fourteen miles of hiking/walking trails. The Old Railroad Bridge paved trails are connected to the paved bike trail along Ashe Blvd., and to trails in Sheffield. Future plans for the Shoals area calls for the extension of trails on to Patton Island through the MPO bike trail system.
According to TVA studies, found on the reservation and around the amphitheater are 103 varieties of trees and shrubs, seventy varieties of herbaceous plants, fifty nine types of birds and over fifty species of fish and mussels. The site also presents an opportunity to review the history of the Shoals. The Old Railroad Bridge has been an integral part of local history since 1832 providing transportation by train and automobile. The setting would allow discussions of types of boats that have traveled the river, the canal and its history of getting around the shoals in the river, Wilson Dam, flood control and power production.
The area is designed to serve a broad audience for school groups to adults and families for a number of special events. Nature areas like this are important for every community and they provide a way to teach children to learn, appreciate, and take care of nature in a fun and engaging environment.
Whatever your interest or fitness level, there is much here for those in the Shoals area. You will find a peaceful place to have lunch, go bird watching, observe nature, walk your dog or go jogging. The ORB and amphitheater is here for public use and enjoyment, for leisure and learning. We want everyone to know what a great resource is available to them.
By: James Bedsole, Board Secretary, Old Railroad Bridge Co., Inc.