Selling a Historic Bridge on Craigslist: Unusual Concept, But…..

Oblique view of entire structure. Photos taken by Calvin Sneed, used with permission.


Bridge for sale. A two-span steel through truss bridge built of Pratt design that includes a Queenpost approach span, which curves at 15°  to the left towards the house on the hill. Built in 1901 by the Southern States Bridge Company of Birmingham, Alabama, the bridge is located two miles from the site of Davy Crockett’s birthplace in Washington County, Tennessee at Glaze’s Ford. Last used 31 years ago but is now privately owned with the structure fenced off to all people. The bridge is available for reuse, but get this: The bridge and the house is availeable on the most improbable platform- Craigslist!

Founded by Craig Newmark in 1995, Craigslist features a list of items available for purchase by others wanting to part ways with them. This not only includes personal items, such as clothing, office supplies, and cars, but also buildings and other property. Since its introduction in San Francisco, Craigslist has spread throughout the US and the rest of the world, where there is a Craigslist for the big city with an area of up to 200 square miles. That means if one lives in Potsdam, Germany, then the nearest Craigslist is in neighboring Berlin. If you live in Breckinridge/Wahpeton in North Dakota, the nearest List can be found in Fargo-Moorhead. Having bridges on Craigslist is not as surprising as having a Mansion available because of their face value in comparison to what the seller is asking for. Yet unlike eBay, there is no bidding for the product. That’s why one will not find such a large piece of property on eBay- at least not yet. But bartering is also possible through Craigslist, where one can bid to the lowest to obtain the product.  In addition, job and dating services can also be found on Craigslist, thus making the platform the electronic version of the classified ads, but on a larger scale than the coverage you get when reading the local newspaper.  Yet despite the advantages of selling items through Craigslist, there has been an increase in crime involving people doing business with Craigslist. This includes an increase in murders through Craigslist since 2000, as well as complaints involving the sales and bartering practices, which have become numerous in the last decade.

Nevertheless, Craigslist has become the last resort to rid the items big or small, without having to run into problems with bureaucracy. In the case involving this bridge, the structure was given to the property owner by the local government for free because of liability purposes. Now the owner is selling her house and property, and assuming the bridge is on her property, that structure as well. The bridge appears to be in excellent shape, in comparison with many abandoned bridges that deteriorate to a point of collapse and subsequent removal. Given the proximity of the bridge near the site of one of the brave soldiers who fought and died for the Alamo in 1836, the bridge has the potential of becoming a key bike trail link. And even not, the bridge can be relocated elsewhere for reuse using funds from the state and national government for the project.

But is Craigslist the right platform for selling a historic bridge? Or should the bridge be sold through other entities, like the county or state? What are the reasons for your argument? Click on the sources below and comment on them here as well as in the Chronicles’ LinkedIn and Facebook pages. You can also add the question of how you would try and sell the bridge if you were in the shoes of the property owner.

More on Craig’s List and its history can be found here, as well as the problems involving purchasing large items through them (here).

Special thanks to Calvin Sneed for the use of his photos in this article. These are only a fraction of the ones you can find via, which you can click here. The history of Davy Crockett is also found here.  Note that the bridge is only used as an example while in reality, there is no confirmation as to whether the bridge is included on Craigslist. It is stated that it is on the homeowner’s property, which is on Craigslist.