This is how the Park looked in the early 1960s. It was published by Roanoke’s Haynes Distributing Company. The company did a photo run through our area in the early 1960s and C. H. Ruth seems to have been their go-to guy for airplane shots. These cards are called “chromes”, since Kodachrome was the film of choice then.
I’d heard a story that this park grabbed the State Park designation from what is now Steele Creek Park (it was going to be Watauga State Park) in Bristol and, thus, left Bristolians sad and bereft. The dates don’t add up, though. There were plans to make Steele Creek a State Park, but organizers had given up on that in 1945. The land for WPSP was acquired from TVA in 1952, a year before the dam was completed.
Steele Creek Park, a city park, came about in 1964. Many Bristolians I’ve talked to have fond memories of enjoying this park when they were kids. It’s still just fine. Good hiking trails! And a LOT of ducks.
Calvin Sneed’s posted this 1929 bridge here with all the appropriate descriptions (Calvin knows more about bridges than anyone else I know – given that I don’t actually know a lot of people who have any interest in bridges, but, Calvin, he’s a bridge boffin straight up. At the time this postcard picture was taken (1961 or 62)*, the bridge was two-way. When I got out of the service and got a job, I bought a 1966 Volkswagen. Even with that car, this bridge was a white-knuckler if a truck was coming the opposite way when it was snowing, in the dark.
Anyway, I think this bridge is utilitarian, rather than “magnificent”. This view is looking east. In 1969, they built the wider steel bridge, just to this side of this one. Whew.
Incidentally, this bridge replaced a 1900 Pactolus Ferry bridge, which crossed the Holston River near (my correction to earlier prepositions) where the Ft. Patrick Henry Dam is now. Before the bridge, there actually was a ferry there.
*Haynes Distributing Company in Roanoke had their photographer/agent Joyce L. Haynes in this area in 1961 and 1961. Shooting Kodachrome, probably. This type of postcard is called a “chrome”.