Perched high above the banks of the Alabama River, the Bridgetender’s House has occupied a front row seat to history.
Text by Katie Wood / Photography by Meghan Stewart
Built in 1884, the modest yellow cottage laced with white trim was originally intended as a home and workspace in Selma, Alabama, for a bridgetender, who would open and close a section of the old swing bridge to allow large riverboats to pass through. The turning operation required the tender to manually turn the capstan to open the bridge—a job that needed attention every hour of every day. The house was a part of his compensation. In 1940, the swing bridge was replaced with the more elevated and now iconic Edmund Pettus Bridge. And while the old bridge was destroyed, its cornerstone remains and can still be seen from the cottage’s porches.