The last signs of the Surf City swing bridge are now gone from the waterway, but the old bridge’s place in Topsail Island’s history won’t be forgotten.
A portion of the bridge structure has been donated to the Historical Society of Topsail Island and will be featured in the Missiles and More Museum, which is set to reopen for the season on April 15.
A five-foot section of steel truss and a piece of wood from the swing bridge fender system have been donated by Topsail artist Jeff Wenzel. The two pieces were received by the Historical Society during its March 14 luncheon and lecture.
Wenzel, owner of Above Topsail Photography, said he took monthly photos showing the progress of construction of the new high-rise bridge as it was being built and was contacted by contractor Balfour Beatty, who was responsible for both the demolition of the old swing bridge and the construction of the new crossing of the Intracoastal Waterway, to see if he’d like pieces of the swing bridge from the demolition process so they could be used in some way to preserve the bridge’s legacy.
Wenzel has incorporated small pieces from the bridge into artwork that has been made available to the public, but the large truss donated to the museum is a piece for generations to enjoy.
He said six pilings that were part of the wooden fender system and the last remnants of the swing bridge were removed from the water last week.
“The swing bridge was an important gateway to Topsail and a lot of people are going to miss it,” Wenzel said.
Edna C. Smith, president of the Historical Society of Topsail Island, said they are pleased to have the new addition to the museum.
“We are so delighted to receive this donation,” Smith said. “So many people in the community are nostalgic about the swing bridge; it’s iconic.”
The museum sustained damage from Hurricane Florence, but has been repaired and is ready for its reopening on April 15. The public is invited to the grand reopening and open house from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
The museum is housed in the Historic Assembly Building, 720 Channel Blvd., Topsail Beach. The part of the assemble building that is rented out opened in October. For more information visit missilesandmoremuseum.org or topsailhistoricalsociety.org.
Reporter Jannette Pippin can be reached at 910-382-2557 or Jannette.Pippin@JDNews.com. For digital subscription information, click here.