Local

On this day in Jacksonville history: Gateway from Jax to the beaches demolished for larger bridge

On December 17, 1949, as his health was failing, B. B. McCormick arrived by ambulance to cut the ribbon on the B.B. McCormick Bridge.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Beaches Museum in Jacksonville Beach is remembering this day in history.

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On February 9, 2009, the original B.B. McCormick Bridge was demolished for a larger, taller bridge to take its place. A new bridge was needed as more and more people made the commute every day and boat traffic increased.

According to local historian Don Marby, “B.B. McCormick thought of the idea of a bridge from Jacksonville to the beaches in 1922 because he was ‘always trying to foster the growth of the beaches, Jacksonville Beach in particular’. He and some others surveyed a possible highway route which branched from Atlantic Boulevard and paralleled the Florida East Coast Railway line to the beach but coming into Jacksonville Beach at Twelfth Avenue South.”

Read: Vital piece of Jacksonville history missing for nearly two weeks found

It wasn’t until 1945 that bridge construction started. World War II postponed plans beforehand.

“B.B. McCormick’s own company, B. B. McCormick & Sons, paved the way east and west of the bridge while the George D. Auchter Company constructed the twin bascule bridges, named the B. B. McCormick Bridge,” the Beaches Museum said.

On Dec. 17, 1949, B.B. McCormick arrived by ambulance to the ribbon cutting ceremony of his newly completed draw bridge as his health was failing.

“From a gurney, he used his pocket knife to cut the ribbon opening the bridge and a new connection with Jacksonville and the beaches,” the museum said.

The original B.B. McCormick Bridge was a drawbridge completed in 1949 but the “road” wasn’t an easy one.

To read up on more interesting history of Jacksonville Beach or maybe take a tour, click here.

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