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This bridge shows signs of its collapse in a flood and subsequent 1921 repair, and is also noted for its extremely rare vertical member design. One of the end posts is torn and has extensive bolts used to repair the bridge. One of the vertical members is bolted and appears to be a replica made in 1921. The portal and sway bracing has some empty rivet holes that would not have been a part of the original design of the bridge, and thus may have been altered or replaced completely in the 1921 repair. Some of the bottom chord members show signs that they were bent. This bridge has one of the most unusual vertical member designs ever seen. The verticals are composed of pairs of angles that are positioned at 90 degree angles to each other, with the v-lacing and battens passing through the middle, giving the vertical members a most unusual appearance. Based on this design, it is assumed that the bridge is the work of the assumed to be the work of the George E. King Bridge Company or the Chicago Bridge and Iron Works, the only two known companies which used this very distinctive design detail. Another unusual detail about this bridge is on the pony truss approach span, it includes diagonal members with an uncommon four-pronged eyebar head detail. This bridge today sits preserved for pedestrian use in a park setting.
The interpretive plaque at the bridge describes the history of the bridge: Erected at the turn of the century over the San Gabriel River 3.5 miles east of Circleville, the Hoxie Bridge was washed 300 yards downstream during the devastating 1921 flood. In November 1921 Austin Brothers was awarded a contract to reconstruct the bridge, and a team of convict laborers was sent from Huntsville to perform the work. According to local legend, one of the prisoners, reputed to have been a troublemaker, was shot in the head by a guard. The mutilated body was hung from a tree as a grisly warning against further trouble at the work site. A cruel death … no burial. Perhaps these were the reasons that the prisoner’s headless ghost haunted the eerie river bottom east of the Hoxie Bridge. Area residents tell tales of lovers and late night travelers frightened by the apparition on Friday nights during the full moon. Mysteriously, a priest’s prayers for the prisoner’s soul ended the specter’s vigil. After the 1921 reconstruction, the bridge served Williamson County residents until it was dismantled in 1979 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, who erected it at the present site in 1982. Built with iron trusses and wood planking, the Hoxie Bridge is typical of those constructed in the early 1900’s.
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