Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Get ready...the Iron Bridge is coming back!

Fall is here, the leaves are begining to change, and even bigger changes are in store for the Fieldale Trail. The Historic Fieldale Iron Bridge is coming! Final preparations are underway to get ready for the cleaning, welding, painting, and mounting of the bridge trusses so they may be installed along the Fieldale Trail as a historic and educational point of interest. Special thanks to all the partners who have participated in this project so far.  If you run into any of these folks, be sure to thank them for their generous contributions!

The Martinsville-Henry County Rivers & Trails Group, an affiliate of the Dan River Basin Association has always dreamed to do something to preserve the historic bridge. Kay Slaughter of the Southern Environmental Law Center, the group's former leader, worked diligently with politicians, state officials, and Deepa Sanyal of the National Trust for Historic Preservation to save the structure in 2005-2006.  As all avenues led to a dead end, the project was put aside to make way for other projects, such as the successful development of the one mile long Fieldale Trail in 2007.  In spring of 2009, mere months prior to the bridge's demolition, Rivers & Trails group members Barbara Jackman & Jeannie Frisco, revived the preservation effort by making contacts with key officials at VDOT and DLB, Inc. to help DRBA acquire a section of the historic Iron Bridge. Thanks to the contacts made by these two, the Rivers & Trails Group's dream is becoming a reality!

Special thanks to both Henry County Parks & Recreation who operates the Fieldale Trail and Mr. Joey Arrington who owns the land that the trail is on for allowing the Iron Bridge to be placed alongside the trail for walkers and cyclists to enjoy.

A group of members from the Fieldale Heritage Festival serves as a steering committee to assist DRBA staff throughout the project in fundraising and planning. The group also gave a $1,000 donation to the project. Special thanks to Bea Bullard, Doug Stegall, Glenda Scott, Virginia King, Margaret Stegall, Keith Stegall, Jesse Frith, Alice Gwynn, Bob Rakes, Nadine Hutchinson, Steve Rucker, Cindy Edgerton, Elva Adams, Joyce Odell, and the many others that contributed to this project both financially and with planning support.

DLB, Inc. of Hillsville, VA who was hired by VDOT to perform the demolition and reconstruction of the bridge gave two 50-foot long sections of truss to DRBA during the demolition process. They also donated their time to cut the pieces so that the trusses could be transported easily. Special thanks to Rob Underwood and Tom Wright for their help.

The Virginia Department of Transportation provided flagmen to direct traffic on moving day and coordinated the move among the various construction providers so that everything could be done safely and cost efficiently. Special thanks to Andrew Kahle, Cliff Saul, and Lisa Hughes for all their support!

Guy Turner Crane Services who was hired by DLB to move sections of the bridge during demolition donated their time to lift the more than 60,000 pounds of metal onto a truck for transportation. An incredible sounding feat that their skilled operators made look like ballet of metal in the sky!

Bobby M. Craddock of Craddock Logging Supply & Repair of Ridgeway, VA was a history buff and loved discovering about Henry County’s historic past. He donated the use of his tractor-trailer to transport the trusses, but sadly passed away just weeks before the big move would take place. Despite this difficult time for the family Mr. Craddock’s son, Wesley, decided to honor his father’s wishes and continue on with the project. As a result of the Craddock family’s contribution of love, we have named the project in memory of Bobby M. Craddock (8/20/1950 – 5/27/2009).

Northpoint Trading, an import/export business located at the former Fieldcrest Cannon factory in Fieldale donated use of their land to temporarily store the trusses while fundraising efforts are underway. We thank them for their patience with us as we have been visiting with various workers to plan, measure, and work out logistics for the project. Special thanks to Carol Shelton for hosting us during this time.

Boxley Materials of Fieldale, VA and Henry County is assisting the project though the donation of engineering services. Boxley has also provided generous support in the planning process in addition to donating the pouring and forming of the concrete and discounting the cost of the concrete used to pour the footers to support the trusses. Special thanks to Charles Craddock, George Honeycutt, Timothy Mauzy, and Tom Roller for their assistance.

Reliable Welding of Bassett, VA has generously provided support during the planning process. They are providing the welding services for the project at a discounted rate so that the finished product will have a symmetrical an aesthetically pleasing shape. Special thanks to CD Stapleton and John Tatum for working with us on this project.

Hall’s Mechanical of Fieldale, VA is providing crane services for the modification work and mounting of the trusses to the concrete footers at a discounted rate. Special thanks to Corky Hall for working with us on this project.

Dishman Environmental of Danville, VA is providing lead abatement services at a discounted rate to remove lead paint from the metal. The firm will use an environmentally friendly removal method that produces no dust. Special thanks to Russell Dishman for all his help.

More than fifty individuals like you have purchased a memorial plaque to go on the bridge in honor of or memory of loved ones. These donors have helped raise over 60% of the funds needed to make this project possible!

Work is slated to begin within the next several weeks, but to complete the project additional funding will be needed. If you'll notice the workers hired for this project are all local so your donations, in addition to helping with this worthwhile project, will also support local businesses. Every donation big or small makes a difference. To donate or purchase a memorial plaque download a donation form or contact DRBA at 276-634-2545 or

Thank you to our donors:
Annonymous, Locust Valley, NY
Elva Adams, Martinsville
Irene Adams, Richmond
Pat Ahern, Reynoldsburg, OH
Kathryn Baugus, Martinsville
Barbara Blake, Fieldale
Beatrice Bullard, Fieldale
Edwin Byrd, Fieldale
Judy Capito, Naples, FL
Stanleytown Ruritan Club, Stanleytown
Ronnie Culler, Fieldale
Kathleen Dalrymple, Greensboro, NC
Michael Dorn, Fieldale
Mildred Eanes, Collinsville
Cindy Edgerton, Fieldale
Barbara Felts, Winston-Salem, NC
Ethel Few, Fieldale
Carl Flick, Wake Forest, NC
Bill Franklin, Beverly Hills, CA
Jeannie Frisco, Stuart
Karen Giles, Martinsville
Alice Gwynn, Fieldale
Frances Hager, Fieldale
Jean Harrison, Fieldale
Elizabeth Herrington, Fieldale
Linda Hollandsworth, Myrtle Beach, SC
Barbara Jackman, Martinsville
Cheryl Kellogg, Stoneville, NC
Virginia King, Martinsville
Robert Martin, Ridgeway
Dorothy Maxie, Fieldale
Blanche Merriman, Fieldale
Sara Price, Palm Beach Gardens, FL
Friends of Philpott, Bassett
Freedom Prints, Fieldale
Lynn Pritchett, Martinsville
Larry Puckett, St. Clairsville, OH
Barbara Purcell, Mercer Island, WA
Robert Rakes, Fieldale
Betti Seale, Fieldale
David Sharpe, Reidsville, NC
Lois Slaughter, Fieldale
Margaret Stegall, Fieldale
Courtney Snyder, Virginia Beach
Marilyn Tauenner, Richmond
Rebecca Thomas, Richmond
Jennifer Wallace, Fieldale
Jewell Wigginton, Fieldale

Watch for a new page coming soon with photos and history of the iron bridge at

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