Scenes from the Kennedy Blvd. Bridge - Page 1


Over the years, three bridges have been built across the river at this location.  The first Lafayette Street bridge was an iron truss "turning bridge" or "swing bridge"--a bridge pivoted on a central trunnion (a vertical column rising out of the water, with a support ring and locating pin for the moving span to turn on.)


The second Lafayette Street bridge was also a swing bridge, and opened in 1896, replacing the first bridge.


The third Lafayette Street bridge opened in 1913, replacing the 2nd bridge.  It is the  dual drawbridge span bridge in place today.




The arrival of Henry B. Plant's railroad in January 1884, Tampa's first steam-engine link to the rest of the country, brought the movement to stir up business development and "put Tampa on the map."  It took awhile for the leaders in the then-tiny community - not yet incorporated as a city - to officially organize the Tampa Board of Trade, as such groups were then called.

"The board's first priority became building a bridge across the Hillsborough River.  The bridge was important: Plant had dangled the prospect of a giant resort hotel on the western bank of the river, but only if a bridge connected it to downtown   ..Thus, the board pushed ahead on what was known as the Lafayette Street Bridge. Its successor span is today's Kennedy Boulevard Bridge."


 Leland Hawes, Tampa Tribune writer


Looking west from across Parker Street.  


  The University of Tampa and Plant Park on the Hillsborough River



Bridge page 1        Bridge page 2  


See a more detailed history  and many more photos of
the Kennedy Blvd. / Lafayette St. Bridge


Tampapix Home