This is no small project. A steel footbridge costs a great deal. And – dealing is Rachel Deal. She is leading the town’s efforts along with the non-profit community group, Crossnore Community Enhancement to raise private funds to rebuild the town’s landmark.
The historic footbridge was built for the children of The Crossnore School to walk safely cross the highway from the Children’s Home to the Crossnore Presbyterian Church.
Mary Martin Sloop, for whom this portion of Highway 221 is dedicated, started the school in 1913. As the area developed she lobbied in Raleigh for new and improved roads in the WNC mountains. At the time the church (now on the national register of historic buildings) was built in 1930? Footbridges over streams and valleys were a common practice in Appalachia, so one was built across the highway here. Local folk’s memories of crossings and stories are retold with pleasure and delight.
For years the bridge gave significance to the village of Crossnore as a landmark.
It was removed 20 years ago and the campaign to have it rebuilt continues.
Today it is an important piece of Crossnore’s Trail System, linking the 2 sides of town over the highway. The trail provides walks through a bird sanctuary from town to the historic Presbyterian Church and on to wild areas beyond the church down to the Linville River.
Contributing to the health, history and inspiration of the local community as well as offering summer visitors a destination, the construction of a simple footbridge over the highway would highlight our town as well as the high country.
As a landmark and part of the trail system it will contribute to the economic development of the town and give recognition to the good work being accomplished at The Crossnore School.
Viewed as a high country gateway, it will invite travelers to reflect back to times when people enjoyed taking footbridges over streams, valleys and roads while enjoying their cultural and natural resources.