Monday, November 23, 2009

91% of Fundraising Goal Met!

A conceptual drawing of how the trusses and
walking trail will be placed in Fieldale Park.

The Holidays are just around the corner and so is the lighting of the Historic Fieldale Iron Bridge. After two of the trusses survived their original fate of being demolished, work is underway to prepare the 54-foot long trusses from the bridge so that they can once again be enjoyed by residents of and visitors to Fieldale. The Dan River Basin Association, with support from their Martinsville-Henry County River & Trails Group, the Fieldale Heritage Festival and Henry County Parks & Recreation, has been busily coordinating efforts so that the trusses can be placed on either side of a new section of the Fieldale Walking Trail that will pass through Fieldale Park. The installation of these trusses as trail art will allow visitors to walk "across" the bridge while learning about the history of the 71-year old structure and of the community of Fieldale.

The trusses are now being cleaned by Dishman Environmental of Danville. This firm has made a generous donation of time and labor to remove years of old paint from the structure at a reduced rate. As sections of the trusses are cleaned, Reliable Welding & Fabricators of Bassett steps in to modify the shortened trusses so that they will have a symmetrical shape, reminiscent of the bridge as it once was. This service is also being provided to the community at a reduced rate. According to C.D. Stapleton, president of Reliable, [we] “feel privileged to be part of the Fieldale Iron Bridge Preservation project. As a small company founded in Henry County 30 years ago, we understand the importance of community and proudly celebrate the heritage of our area. While our company focuses on the needs of local manufacturers and business organizations; this project is allowing us to contribute to our friends and neighbors by preserving a portion of an iconic landmark that served our area.” Throughout the process of cleaning and welding, nearly 30,000 pounds of metal are being moved and lifted with cranes, thanks to Hall’s Mechanical. Owner Corky Hall, a Fieldale native, is providing the service at a reduced cost.

Presently, work to prepare the trusses is taking place behind the gates of Northpoint Trading. The firm allowed the trusses to be stored at their site for the past several months, but soon passersby in Fieldale will see changes progress occurring out in public. Boxley Materials of Fieldale is set to begin pouring concrete footers on which the trusses will rest in Fieldale Park. Boxley is pouring and forming the concrete for no charge as a service to the community. Once the concrete is dry, Hall’s Mechanical will load the trusses onto a tractor trailer, generously provided by Craddock Logging Supply & Repair of Ridgeway, so that they may be transported to their new home and set on the concrete footers.

Many others have also contributed support to this project including Henry County, the Virginia Department of Transportation, DLB Construction, The Fieldale Community Center, Mr. Joey Arrington, Mr. Shane Pinkston and Mr. Rayford Smith. Thanks to the support of numerous individual donors, more than 90% of funds to complete the project have been raised through the sales of memorial plaques that will be placed along the trusses once they are painted. Plaques to honor or remember the people special to you are still available and they make a great holiday gift. Elva Adkins of Fieldale purchased a plaque to remember her late father H.O. “Hub” Adkins, who in the 1940’s drove across “the old bridge many times each day in his long truck.” She challenges others “to make a donation for each time you side swiped the old bridge” coming across it, as many have.

A dedication ceremony to celebrate the historic Fieldale Iron Bridge is being planned, and information regarding this event will be released in the near future. To purchase a plaque or for more information on the project, please contact Jennifer Doss at 276-634-2545 or

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