Neither Mile-High Nor Swinging

William Umstead dedicates the mile-high swinging bridge. Image from the N.C. Museum of History

William Umstead dedicates the mile-high swinging bridge.
Image from the N.C. Museum of History

On September 2, 1952, gubernatorial candidate William B. Umstead dedicated Grandfather Mountain’s Mile-High Swinging Bridge near Linville, and became the first person to cross it. Earlier that year entrepreneur Hugh Morton had inherited Grandfather Mountain, whose craggy features and high vistas had made it a popular tourist attraction since the 1890s. Morton envisioned building a bridge between Grandfather’s Convention Table Rock and Linville Peak to improve visitors’ access to the best scenic overlooks.

Designed by Greensboro architect Charles Hartmann, Jr., and fabricated by Truitt Manufacturing Company in Greensboro, the 228-foot suspension bridge was reassembled in three weeks at Grandfather Mountain by Craven Steel Erecting Company. The total cost was $15,000. In 1999, the mostly wooden bridge was rebuilt using galvanized steel at a cost of $300,000.

Former state tourism director Charles J. Parker coined the name “Mile-High Swinging Bridge” at the 1952 dedication. While the bridge’s elevation is slightly more than a mile above sea level, it actually hangs only 80 feet above the ground. And while suspension bridges can swing, especially in high winds, thick cables anchor Grandfather Mountain’s bridge to the ground, limiting its movement.

Other related resources:

For more about North Carolina’s history, arts and culture, visit Cultural Resources online. To receive these updates automatically each day, make sure you subscribe by email using the box on the right, and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.


Tags: , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: