Remembering the Marketplace of the Midsouth

Harahan Burned

The roadway on the Harahan was a bit of an afterthought. The railroads didn't intend to include provisions for automobiles but political pressure changed their minds. So, road beds were slung on each side of the bridge - 14 feet wide and supported by cantilever braces. The roadbed itself was made of creosote soaked wood planks. Driving the road was a scary experience for many as the road hung out over the river, essentially in open air and only a few feet from the unprotected edge. One wrong turn - you and your car would be in the Big Muddy.

Turns out, that wasn't the only danger. Trains crossing the bridge using brakes have a tendency to spark. One of those sparks was intense enough to land on then wooden roadway and ignite. On Sept. 17, 1928 the Harahan burned and suffered damage, though it was not destroyed. Thus article from a magazine called Railway Age carried the story on June 29, 1929.

Credit Bill Pollard




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