· President Franklin Delano Roosevelt dedicated the original bridge on September 4, 1936 with more than 75,000 people in attendance.Mark TwainMemorial BridgeNamed as a tribute to the memory ofSamuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain) on theoccasion of the centennial of his birthA.D. 1935Federal Emergency Administrationof Public WorksProject No. 8624Built byCity of Hannibal, Missouriin co-operation withHannibal Chamber of CommerceFinanced with the assistance ofMissouri State Highway CommissionIllinois State Departmentof Public Works and BuildingsandPine County, Illinois.Consulting EngineersSverdrup and ParcelSt. Louis, Mo.ContractorsThe Mt. Vernon Bridge Co.Union Bridge & Constr. Co.
· Missouri U.S. Senator and future president, Harry S. Truman was among the dignitaries present.
· This bridge was designed solely for the use of automobiles. Previously, trains, automobiles, horse-drawn vehicles, and pedestrians used the Wabash Train Bridge located to the north.
· A toll was charged for the first four years the bridge was in service to cover the construction costs of the project.
· The bridge spanned 2,636 feet across the Mississippi river. It contained 5.3 million pounds of fabricated structural steel and 645,000 pounds of reinforcing steel.
· A recurring summer problem was the swarming of mayflies attracted to the bridge lights. At times, the pavement was covered 2 inches thick by the insects, causing it to become extremely slick. Snow plows were necessary for their removal.
· The bridge was closed during the flood of 1993 from July to September. Water covered the approach on the Illinois side.
· The bridge closed to traffic on Saturday, September 16, 2000 following the dedication and opening of the new Mark Twain Memorial Bridge.
· Demolition of the bridge began on January 8, 2001 with the blasting of the first span. Seven months were required
to remove the old bridge.
(adjacent 1935 WPA marker)