FLORENCE — While construction crews are busy removing Jackson Ford Bridge, better known as Ghost Bridge, officials with the Florence-Lauderdale Public Library are hoping local photographers will help them preserve images of the bridge.
For the past six years, library officials have been trying to digitally record as much of the area's history as possible for their archives. With the bridge being removed, library officials are asking local photographers to submit photos of the old bridge for an upcoming exhibit and to be digitally recorded into the library's archives.
"Digital archiving is a part of our ongoing efforts to preserve the history of this area," library Director Nancy Sanford said. "The bridge is a part of our cultural history. Having the exhibit and the photos scanned into the digital archives will be a good way to remember the history of the bridge."
The bridge, on Lauderdale 282, was built in 1912 over Cypress Creek, according to local historians.
Because of its condition, the bridge has been closed since 1996. It has continued to deteriorate and has become a liability for the county.
Workers have begun the removal of the bridge, just east of Lauderdale 200 (old Savannah Highway).
Lauderdale County Engineer Ken Allamel said after talking with the contractor, the work is expected to take a week to 10 days to complete.
"It was closed because of its condition, and it has continued to deteriorate," Commission Chairman Dewey Mitchell said.
Mitchell said the one-lane steel-truss bridge is in such bad shape it has become a liability to the county.
"We're lucky someone hasn't gotten hurt out there already," said Commissioner Larry Irons, who went out to the bridge for a few minutes Tuesday to watch the demolition. "It's about to fall to pieces."
Mitchell said there can't be a lot holding the old structure together.
"It was in terrible condition when we vacated it, and it's gotten a lot worse," he said. "It's time to get the bridge down and move on."
Jennifer Butler Keeton, literacy outreach coordinator for the library, said photographers can submit up to three photos of the bridge.
"We will start accepting them today and will continue to take them for a week," Keeton said Tuesday.
Sanford said she would like to have the exhibit sometime this spring.
Keeton said scanning the photos into the library's digital archives is a way to celebrate and preserve memories of the bridge for generations to come.
"The images will be permanently preserved and viewable for researchers around the world," Keeton said.
To be considered for the exhibit, photographers can submit up to three photographs no smaller than 5x7. All photographs must be prepared for display — framed, mounted and matted — when submitted.
To be considered for inclusion in the archive, photographers are asked to submit a CD containing high-resolution files containing up to three photos). The CD must include the photographer's full name.
If a photographer cannot provide digital files, bring an extra set of copies that can be scanned in addition to the photographs prepared for display.
Photographs will be accepted until Jan. 30.
For more information, call 256-764-6564, ext. 13.
Tom Smith can be reached at 256-740-5757 or tom.smith@TimesDaily.com.