The bridge was authorized by the Alabama Legislature to be constructed in 1832. It was completed and opened in 1 840 as a wooden, single-deck bridge for pedestrian and wagon traffic. Prior to 1840 a ferry was available at the mouth of Cypress Creek and later moved to this site in 1817 . When completed in 1840 it was described as a plain wooden bridge, covered and weather boarded on both sides. Siding was used so that animals of burden would not spook in the middle of the river thus endangering their passengers. It was also covered to protect the wood superstructure from decay.
The new bridge united Florence with Southport where the river boats loaded cotton stored in nearby warehouses. In 1817 Congress created the Territory of Alabama which became the twenty-second state on December 17 , 1819. The Indian Treaty of 1816 opened the Shoals area for settlers. The land west of Cane Creek was opened with the Indian removal in 1836. Navigation was difficult due to the fact the riv er rose 1 30 feet in elevation within a forty -five mile stretch.
Good farm land brought shallow draft steam boats to transport cotton to market in 1 821. The first railroad to transport around the Shoals was chartered in 1830 and reached Decatur in November, 1836. The first efforts to build a canal around the Shoals was attempted from 1831 to 1 837 .
From unknown source, retyped from a old photocopy