The Original Mark Twain Memorial Bridge (1936-2000)

The Mark Twain Memorial Bridge spanned the Mississippi River, connecting Hannibal, MO with the State of Illinois at Aladdin. The bridge was a Public Works Administration project, opening in 1936, coincidentally as part of US Highway 36.

Image: Missouri State Archives via BridgeHunter

Before the bridge was built, automobiles could cross the Mississippi River at the nearby Wabash Bridge, which was built, and remains, as a railroad bridge. 

Image: MODOT 1940 Map

Originally opening as a toll bridge, the tolls were removed in 1940. 

Caption by Lisa Ruble, "Hugh M. Richards crosses the Mississippi River and enters Illinois with his REO tractor, December 1946. Hugh is pulling 32' Fruehauf trailer #4538 in the service of Pacific Intermountain Express and is enroute to Chicago on US 36. Hannibal, MO is visible in the background. Hugh normally meets his fellow Owner Operator relay drivers in Pittsfield, IL, but on this occasion Hugh has ventured into Missouri to assist Wayne Thrasher, who was delayed by a breakdown. Gasoline is the fuel for the engine in the REO. The photo was taken by Peter Stackpole for LIFE Magazine."


Image: Missouri State Archives via BridgeHunter, 1952

In 2000, the bridge was demolished and replaced with a new bridge of the same name, carrying the newly-extended I-72 into Missouri, as well as US-36. A portion of the old Mark Twain Memorial Bridge remains is preserved at Cardiff Hill Overlook Park in Hannibal.

More pictures of the Bridge are available from the Library of Congress.

Thanks as always for reading!

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