Bridge’s namesake to be honored at ceremony

Published 8:36 pm Thursday, December 4, 2008

Drivers who come into Andalusia from U.S. Highway 84 might notice the green signs signifying the bridge over the Conecuh River as “E.L. More Memorial Bridge.” This weekend, the man for whom that bridge is named will be honored at a special ceremony.

Saturday at 11 a.m., the Covington Historical Society will hold a formal dedication ceremony for the bridge. The ceremony is open to the public and will take place at the boat launching area on the west side of the Conecuh River.

E.L. More’s only surviving son, Livingfield More, who currently lives in Nashville, will attend the ceremony along with other dignitaries, including State Sen. Jimmy Holley (R-Elba).

The state legislature first passed a resolution to rename the bridge for More in April 2007. However, the official dedication ceremony has not taken place until now, because the Covington Historical Society wanted to verify that Livingfield More would be able to attend, and because the date holds historical significance.

“(Livingfield) thought he would like to do this ceremony on Dec. 6 because that was his father’s birthday,” said George Proctor, a member of the planning committee for Saturday’s ceremony.

E.L. More was a Tennessee native who came to Covington County in 1897, helping to build the L&N Railroad, which traveled from Georgiana to Graceville, Fla. While living in the county, More had a handle in several major projects, some of which still impact the county today.

“While More was working with the railroad, he saw all the virgin yellow pine that was growing in this area,” Proctor said. “He returned to found the Horseshoe Lumber Company and built that very large company on the banks of the river, just north of the current bridge.

“It was a very large operation, and early in the 20th century he helped to build the Point A and Gantt Lake dams to help provide electricity for the company. He produced so much electricity that he sold some of it to several towns in the surrounding area, which was the first time a lot of towns in Covington County had the opportunity to have electricity.”

More’s lumber company remained in operation until 1929, when a flood almost completely wiped it out. Already in failing health, he liquidated the mill and returned to Tennessee shortly after, where he died in 1934.

Proctor added that More was a revolutionary businessman who made sure to take care of his employees.

“He provided a doctor on site at the saw mill,” Proctor said. “He built a building for that doctor and it eventually became the River Falls Post Office. There were a great many injuries at saw mills at that time, and he saw to it that his employees had a doctor on site so they wouldn’t have to travel to Andalusia or have to wait for a doctor to arrive from town.

“He did a lot for this area, whether it was providing jobs for employees or building the dams, some of which are still in use today.”

To get to the boat launching area where the ceremony will take place, take U.S. Highway 84 west from Andalusia. Travel on the highway until it crosses the bridge at the Conecuh River, then take the first right. Shortly after making the turn, there will be a narrow road covered with slag and with a road sign reading “Snook Road.” Follow this road to the area where the ceremony will take place.