Turnstyle Bridge across the Intracoastal Waterway at Fort Lauderdale

Turnstyle Bridge across the Intracoastal Waterway at Fort Lauderdale
Turnstyle Bridge across the Intracoastal Waterway

At Fort Lauderdale, the first bridge to the beachside was a short wooden bridge across what then known as the private Florida East Coast Canal ca. 1910. Located on the north side of the land was a small wooden house occupied by the bridge-tender and his family. Upon the approach of a small boat or light draft barge, the tender would exit his house and turn the bridge ninety degrees with a long pole inserted like a ‘key’ in the middle of the bridge roadway.

Some years after 1929, the Army Corps of Engineers widened the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW)  to at least 125 feet, removing the turnstyle bridge, the spit of land in the middle of the Waterway and the fixed bridge west of it. My best guess of the date the photo was taken is in the 1930s.

In the mid-1950s, a double-bascule bridge replaced the fixed bridge, the small island, and the old turnstyle bridge, connecting the mainland to the beaches. It was dedicated in memory of Dwight Laing Rogers, Sr., M.C., who died unexpectedly in 1954. As a Florida state representative, Rogers authored the homestead exemption saving many residences of the head of a household from seizure and sale for non-payment of property taxes during the Depression. Courtesy, Bridge-tender’s daughter, Jeri Burrie Howard.

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