Rooster Bridge in Alabama: Then and Now


– Gameness til the End

Historic Markers Across Alabama: The Rooster Bridge

Marker ID: AHC
Location: on U.S. 80 3 miles east of State Road 28, Demopolis, Alabama
County: Sumter
Coordinates: N 32° 27.127    W 088° 0.344
32.45211666    -88.00573333
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: None

Side 1

In 1919 a rooster sale organized by Frank Derby raised money to begin construction of a bridge over the Tombigbee River at Moscow Ferry. This was the last link in the completion of the Dixie Overland Highway between Savannah and San Diego.

The idea was “to bridge the ‘Bigbee with cocks”: Roosters would be solicited from world-famous persons and an auction and barbeque held in the city of Demopolis for the benefit of the bridge.

Congressmen “Buck” Oliver, Admiral William S. Benson, and Secretary of Navy Josephus Daniels helped sell President Wilson on the idea. He and the others of the Big Four, Lloyd George, Clemenceau, and Orlando, who were meeting at the Versailles Conference, shipped roosters on the USS Northern Pacific. Governor Kilby sent 27 prominent Alabamians to the White House to receive the roosters from President Wilson.

Side 2

By August 14, 1919, 600 roosters (and one hen from Helen Keller) had arrived in Demopolis. President Wilson’s rooster auctioned for $44,000. Over $200,000 was pledged, but most was not collected. The names of 88 donors appear on markers at the original site one mile downstream.

With the addition of state and federal funds the bridge was constructed and opened in 1925 as Memorial Bridge. Always known locally as Rooster Bridge, the name was officially changed in 1959 when a bill sponsored by Sen. E. O. Eddins passed the State Legislature. In July, 1971, a bill sponsored by State Representatives I. D. Pruitt and R. S. Manley was approved, which decreed that all future bridges over the Tombigbee at Moscow would be named Rooster Bridge and bear plaques relating the unique plan devised by Frank Derby in building the first bridge.

Erected by Alabama Historical Commission and the Alabama Highway Department.

Rooster Bridge Map

The Rooster Bridge Donor Marker

The Rooster Bridge Donor Marker
This marker is located next to the Demopolis City Hall

The New Rooster Bridges Highway 80 West Bound

The New Rooster Bridges Highway 80 West Bound
The Original Rooster Bridge was demolished in 1980 and was located about mile down river from this location.

poultry gamefowl chicken gamecock


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