Swinging Bridge was constructed near the end of 1800's, probably by the city of Ringgold. It provided the farmers and school children that lived on the south side of the creek a safe crossing into Ringgold. There was a ford for use by wagons below the bridge. One could also cross the creek on the railroad trestle to the east, but it was dangerous. Trains make little noise as they coast downhill from Graysville and round the curve. At least one fatality is known to have occurred on this trestle when two ladies were surprised and one failed to get off in time.
Swinging Bridge was constructed of two parallel cables tied to supports on each side of the creek. Wooden boards were placed across these cables. Two additional cables were swung about three feet above the first for use as handrails. On the original bridge, periodic wooden supports connected the cables above with the cables below and kept the handrails from swinging too far out the side. During a flood a floating tree seriously damaged the bridge. Thereafter, small cables connected the cables above with cables below. Steps were provided on each side of the creek. Some may remember a large beech tree on the south side of the creek with the carved initials of most of the town.
In the 1930's, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) improved a road from the ford at Swinging Bridge, around the north side of Taylor's Ridge and then down the east side of the mountain to the Dedmon Cemetery. About eight families lived along the road. One family remains but all signs of the other homesteads have since disappeared except for the roses and daffodils.
The Swinging Bridge became Ringgold's first city park. It provided something for everyone. Families would gather here on Sunday afternoon after church to picnic on the grass, gossip and exchange the news of the town. It was also a good time to lean against a tree with a good book or take an afternoon nap while the children played with those of other families.
There was a swimming hole below the bridge with a rope swing. Most anyone could turn a backward flip off the swing but a forward flip took nerve. The fishing was good. The kids threw mud balls at each other, swam, fished and swung on the bridge. Young people met, paired up and decided who would become the future young families of the town.
In the evening the bridge provided access to Taylor's Ridge and hundreds of acres of forest for fox and coon hunting. Hunters would build their fires on top of the mountain and listen to the dogs run. There was always an argument as to where the dogs were and whose dog was in front. Many lies were told, some whiskey was drunk and boys learned from their elders how to become men.
Life in Ringgold was uncomplicated. It was a good place to grow up.