Boonesboro Bridge 60 Years Old

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Boonesboro Bridge 60 Years Old


On Nov. 11, 1931, the ferry that for 132 years carried traffic across the Kentucky River at Boonesboro ceased operations. In its place a huge steel and concrete bridge opened. (Note that I am using the short version of the word rather than the longer Boonesborough, which I normally use for historical purposes.) On Oct. 4, 1779, the ferry was established by the Virginia House of Burgesses to accommodate settlers pouring into central and western Kentucky. Later it was used as the connecting link for motorists traveling US 27 between Richmond and Winchester. (The number was changed to 227 and is now 627 and it is no longer a U.S. highway.) Fort Boonesboro Memorial Bridge was built by the State Highway Commission, with the toll set at 45 cents until it paid for itself. Ceremonies to dedicate the bridge and to celebrate Armistice Day were held at the dance pavilion near the bridge, due to rain. (How many readers remember the old dance pavilion?) State Sen. John S.W. Holloway presided; Ben Johnson, State Highway Commissioner (under Republican Gov. Flem D. Sampson) spoke. Highway Commission member Charles Montgomery of West Liberty also spoke. Miss Jennie Parkes, past Regent of the Boonesborough Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, presented Johnson with a bouquet and expressed appreciation of the chapter that the commission had made the bridge a memorial. Keen Johnson, editor of The Richmond Register, spoke on behalf of the American Legion posts of Richmond and Winchester about Armistice Day. Circuit Judge W. Rodes Shackleford of Richmond accepted the bridge from Commissioner Johnson. The invocation was given by Dr. Hugh McClellan of Winchester; the benediction by the Rev. F.N. Tinder of Richmond. In connection with Armistice Day there was one minute of silence observed and the music was provided by the Jesse Dykes American Legion Post Band. C. Frank Dunn, editor of the Kentucky Progress magazine, was scheduled to address the group on "The Bridge, Its Commercial Significance," but if he spoke there was no mention of it in the next day's Lexington Herald-Leader writeup. So we had 132 years of ferry and now 60 years of bridge over the Kentucky River at Boonesboro.


Dr. Fred Engle




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Dr. Fred Engle, “Boonesboro Bridge 60 Years Old,” Madison's Heritage Online, accessed April 15, 2024,