Swinging bridges used to be commonplace in Wild and Wonderful West Virginia.
If you lived up a holler or had a creek to cross to get home, chances were your dad built a swinging bridge to get you there.
A lot of small communities separated from the rest of the world by a river often built swinging bridges to connect them to the main roadways.
We fished off them, we played chicken on them (after we got them swinging), and missed them when they were gone.
There are still swinging bridges in West Virginia, but they have become few and far between.
Here’s a look at 10 swinging bridges across the state that will have you remembering the “good ole’ days.”
1. Elkhurst swing bridge
The Elkhurst swinging bridge over the Elk River is closed to traffic but many still cross it on foot.
If you drove across it and came to a quick stop in the center the bridge it would sway, and many folks made memories doing just that.
So far, Clay County residents have successfully fought to keep their beloved span.
2. Burnsville swinging bridge
This span connected a small community to a larger one. It is located in Braxton County, crosses the Kanawha River, and still inspires stories among local residents.
3. Bloomingrose swinging bridge
Who wouldn’t love this Boone County community with a beautiful name, and its beautiful swinging bridge? This span has played a role in a lot of childhood memories.
4. Nelson Rocks swinging bridge
This Pendleton County span is on private property at NROCKS Outdoor Adventures (formerly Nelson Rocks Adventure Center).
It is an adventure, to say the least.
Roughly 150 feet long, it crosses a gap where the valley floor is about 200 feet below.
Each wooden plank is roughly a foot apart, and those who have crossed it advise looking down before taking each step.
5. North Fork swinging bridge
This Grant County icon is picture perfect, because it crosses the always scenic North Fork of the Potomac River.
6. Hendricks swinging bridge
This Tucker County town is where the Upper Cheat River Water Trail begins, and that’s good news for nature lovers.
Hendricks Park offers fishing and boating access at the Black Fork River, and you can also explore this old West Virginia footbridge.
7. Atwell swinging bridge
This McDowell County span is off the beaten path. It crosses the Dry Fork of the Tug Fork of the Big Sandy River.
It is a suspension foot bridge only, located near Bartley on W.Va.Route 83 and is still used. There is a ball field on the other side with concession, bathrooms, dugouts, play and picnic area.
Resident Wanda Woody credited the community for saving it.
“The community got together, worked to keep it and improve it. I know it was there in the 1950s, but I think it goes back further.”
8. Calcutta swinging bridge
Calcutta, which is named after the city in India, is an unincorporated community in Pleasants County.
The local span leads to the Calcutta Methodist Church.
Marsha Dye Ringle said the span played a major role in her childhood, as well as many other Calcutta residents.
One of her favorite things to do as a child was lay down on the bridge, watch the clouds and imagine what life might bring.
9. Elkins swinging bridge
Local folks in this Randolph County community are no strangers to this classically-built swinging bridge.
Even the Elkins Historic Landmarks Commission is interested in this structure, and at one time encouraged folks to support efforts to place it on the National Register.
It is located off Wilson Street across from the rail yards. It was closed to pedestrian traffic after a study found it unsafe to support people crossing it.
10. Tug Valley Country Club swinging bridge
Probably the only place where a golfer can tee off in Kentucky, watch as their ball crosses the Tug Fork River and then lands on a green in West Virginia.
Players ride golf carts across a swinging bridge to continue playing this private course in the Mingo County community of Sprigg.