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Ironton - Russell Bridge 1922-2016


Freedom comes in waves as you grow up. Its a slowly expanding circle that starts in the front yard. Next comes the neighbors yard, then down the street. Eventually, if you're a lucky one, you get a car; the ultimate american teenage freedom. Four wheels that you can point any direction you want. 


As a teenager in Russell, Kentucky, that meant you could expand your circle to the next town and state. Ironton, Ohio, lays on the other side of the Ohio river. Just a short trip across the Ironton bridge. 


Once on the other side you felt freedom. Teenagers would cruise down 3rd Street, hang out around the fast food joints, or go down to the river front until the cops scared them off. 


For many, like myself, this old bridge was the first symbol of freedom. The bridge became a small gateway to a new era of life. The slow shift into your own skin. The shedding of those awkward early years. A promise of possibility if you just pointed your wheels in a direction.


In some ways it was the link between childhood and adulthood.  


In November of 2016 the Ironton Bridge closed after the opening of a new bridge between these river cities.  From what I know it was time for a newer, safer, bridge. I'll still always think of this old bridge anytime someone say Ohio.

Brandon Withrow