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COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – The John Coffee Memorial Bridge has been standing six miles north of Cherokee since 1964. The National Park Service (NPS) is looking to hear its story from members of the community.

The bridge spanning the Tennessee River was named for General John Coffee (1772-1833), who served in the War of 1812 under Andrew Jackson, made the original survey of the Tennessee Valley, and planned the town that would become the city of Florence.

John Coffee Memorial Bridge on the Natchez Trace Parkway

In recent years, the bridge has shown signs of deterioration and a project team is in the process of determining if it can be rehabilitated or if it needs to be replaced. As part of the project, the team will conduct an Environmental Assessment and

NPS wants input from the public to help put together an ethnographic study about the bridge on Natchez Trace Parkway as part of the process.

The study will help officials understand not only the John Coffee Bridge but the area around it as well.

The Parkway wants to hear from anyone with historical knowledge of the area, the construction of the bridge, or who has cultural or historical ties to the area. The information will help the project team identify areas that may need preservation or avoidance.

The community’s knowledge will also help the park service understand the history of the Tennessee River and the Shoals area.

Anyone wanting to share their knowledge can contact Cheyenne Bennett by email at or call 662-808-7388.