South Carolina

Ashley River Bridges – Charleston, South Carolina

South Carolina  |  SC Picture Project  |  Charleston County Photos  |  Ashley River Bridges

The historic Ashley River Bridges cross the Ashley River in Charleston. The first bridge, pictured on the left, opened in 1926 and is dedicated to the South Carolina soldiers who died during World War I. It is known as the Ashley River Memorial Bridge and is one of four remaining drawbridges in our state.

Ashley River Draw Bridges

Napoleon Flores of Charleston, 2010 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The one-way span connects Spring Street in downtown Charleston to both Savannah Highway and Saint Andrews Boulevard in West Ashley. It is 1,733 feet long and 34.1 feet wide, and its largest span stretches 158.1 feet.

The second bridge, on the right, is also a drawbridge and was added in 1961 to accommodate the growing traffic between the Charleston peninsula and West Ashley. It is part of Savannah Highway (US 17). The bascule bridge stretches 1633.9 feet in full, with its largest span extending 160.1 feet. The deck is 40 feet wide.

Ashley River Bridge with Marina in the Foreground

Daniela Duncan of Charleston, 2012 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

This span is formally known as the T. Allen Legare Bridge, named in honor of Thomas Allen Legare, Jr., who died in 2010. A lawyer by profession, Legare served in South Carolina’s statehouse from 1947 to 1948 and from 1951 to 1953. He then served in the South Carolina state senate from 1953 to 1966.

Both Ashley River Bridges stand near the mouth of the Ashley River where it joins with the Cooper River to form the Charleston Harbor. The Ashley River, and the Cooper River for that matter, are named after Anthony Ashley Cooper, the Earl of Shaftesbury, who was one of Carolina’s eight Lords Proprietors and owned a barony of 12,000 acres upon the Ashley River’s shores.

The river begins in western Berkeley County near Wassamassaw and passes many historic plantations along the way, including Drayton Hall, Magnolia Gardens, and Middleton Place. Cash crops grown on these plantations were primarily indigo, cotton, and rice, with rice being most popular due to the river’s tides and brackish water. Two other well-known historic landmarks that stand on the banks of the Ashley are Jenkins Orphanage in North Charleston and Colonial Dorchester State Historic Site in Summerville.

Ashley River Bridge

J. Bicking © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Historical Photos of the Ashley River Bridge

Ashley River Bridge

Postcard View, Distributed by F. J. Martschink Co., Charleston, Early 1900s

Ashley River Bridge

Postcard View, Published by Paul E. Trouche, Charleston, 1944

Moveable Bridges in South Carolina

These are the only moveable bridges left in our state:

1) Harbor River Bridge – US 21 over the Harbor River – Swing bridge
2) Woods Memorial Bridge – US 21 Business over the Beaufort River – Swing bridge
3) Wappoo Creek Bridge – SC 171 – Drawbridge
4) Ben Sawyer Bridge – SC 703 over the Intracoastal Waterway – Swing bridge
5) Little River Swing Bridge – County Road 26-20
6) Socastee Swing Bridge – SC 544 (Dick Pond Road)
7-8) Ashley River Bridges – US 17 over the Ashley River – Two side-by-side drawbridges
9) Sixth Street Bridge – railroad over the Savannah River – Drawbridge (no longer functioning)

UPDATE: Since this list was created, the Wando River Bridge between Charleston and Berkeley counties has been replaced by a fixed-span bridge.

Ashley River Bridges Map

Ashley River Bridges – Add Info and More Photos

The purpose of the South Carolina Picture Project is to celebrate the beauty of the Palmetto State and create a permanent digital repository for our cultural landmarks and natural landscapes. We invite you to add additional pictures (paintings, photos, etc) of Ashley River Bridges, and we also invite you to add info, history, stories, and travel tips. Together, we hope to build one of the best and most loved SC resources in the world!


The South Carolina Picture Project is a volunteer project which earns no profit. We work hard to ensure its accuracy, but if you see a mistake, please know that it is not intentional and that we are more than happy to update our information if it is incorrect. That said, our goal is to create something positive for our state, so please make your comments constructive if you would like them to be published. Thank you!

3 Comments about Ashley River Bridges

SCIWAYNo Gravatar says:
September 20th, 2017 at 1:58 am

Hello Linda, which of these were you interested in inquiring to use? We cannot grant permission ourselves because they are photos we have requested to use on this site. But if you knew which ones you were interested in we could reach out to the photographers for you to seek their permission.

LInda HansonNo Gravatar says:
September 19th, 2017 at 1:40 pm

I need to reproduce some photos of the Ashley River Memorial Bridges for a talk to a History group Oct. 12. We want to have some visuals besides the written facts. Can you help me? Thank you Linda and Len Hanson , Mt Pleasant SC

Paul Luman says:
August 30th, 2015 at 2:55 am

Are they scheduled for replacement?

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