The Story of the Woods Memorial Bridge

Beaufort has so many things that make it a unique spot in our corner of the country, and the Woods Memorial Bridge is certainly one of them.

The Woods Memorial Bridge is one of Beaufort’s most popular landmarks. Photo courtesy of Sydney Baker

One of Beaufort’s most notable landmarks and famous for its appearance in the movie Forrest Gump; the Woods Memorial Bridge has a storied history all of its own.

Beaufort is surrounded by water, but there was no bridge to Lady’s Island for the longest time.  Water transportation had been the norm ever since the first settlers had arrived in the area.  On July 7th, 1927 all of that changed and the Lady’s Island Bridge opened, spanning the Beaufort River and providing the first land access from Beaufort to Lady’s Island, St. Helena Island and the many other sea islands that dot our coast.

A new bridge was constructed to replace the old wooden Lady’s Island Bridge in 1959, and then in 1971, was renamed the Richard V. Woods Memorial Bridge.  Dedicated to State Highway Patrolman Richard V. Woods, who was killed in the line of duty, the bridge is inscribed with the following:  “Dedicated in 1971 to the memory of State Highway Patrolman R.V. Woods (1935-1969) and all other South Carolina Law Enforcement Officers who died while serving in the line of duty.”

The Woods Memorial Bridge is a unique swing bridge, and is one of only nine moveable bridges still in use in the entire State of South Carolina.  (one of eight when the Harbor River Bridge is removed and replaced by a fixed span bridge in 2018)

It certainly is one of the most photographed of all of Beaufort’s landmarks, and a delight to stroll over and back again any time of the day during any time of the year.

story of the Woods Memorial Bridge
Photo of the Woods Memorial Bridge opening up. Courtesy Corey Gibson