The parkway bridge is named in honor of United States Representative Jamie L. Whitten who for years fought for funds in Congress to complete the Natchez Trace Parkway and the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway.
His vision helped make possible this historic landmark, the intersection of two great avenues of transportation—one past, one present, and both for the future.
Jamie Whitten was responsible for reviving the Trace project and instrumental in securing continuous appropriations for construction of the parkway as a memorial to the original Old Trace. The Old Trace, or trail, was the path through the Choctaw, Chickasaw, and Cherokee Nations between Natchez and Nashville. After floating their trade goods to Natchez, thousands of Boatmen would walk home over the Natchez Trace. After 1820, when steampower made upriver travel easier, many portions of the Natchez Trace were abandoned.
Transport of trade goods on our nation's rivers continues today. Jamie Whitten led the House of Representatives in providing funds for the construction of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway project. Due largely to his unceasing support and energy, this waterway now joins two of the busiest navigation systems in the country and provides a more direct and economical water route between much of America's heartland and the Gulf of Mexico.