In 1909, the Shelby Street Bridge (originally the Sparkman Street Bridge) was constructed in downtown Nashville, TN over the Cumberland River. Back then, Nashville had only 110,000 residents. The bridge is 1,768 feet long and not only covers the river, but also goes over railroad tracks alongside the river.
With a population today of over 600-thousand residents, the bridge is for pedestrians only. The bridge was closed to vehicle traffic in about 1998 and later re-opened as the pedestrian only bridge in 2003.
The bridge lasted longer than most bridges of its time because it was much stronger. It was actually designed to allow for street cars to pass over it on a rail system. However, the street car system in Nashville never utilized the bridge. Despite the overall strength of the support system in the bridge, the concrete used in the structure was anything but strong. It had to be replaced in the 1940's. The limestone quarry where the rock came from for the bridge was eventually deemed unfit for use. The quarry near Newsom Station, TN later closed down.