Francis Marion Roberts Memorial Bridge
By Tommy Roberts - 29 May 2019
It's official!!! The bridge at Interstate 40 Exit 276 Interchange has been named and dedicated the Francis Marion Roberts Memorial Bridge. After approval of the Putnam County Commission and the Tennessee State Legislature, the Tennessee Department of Transportation installed signs at each end of the bridge.
Francis Marion Roberts, son of pioneer Joseph Roberts, is the person who caused Roberts Switch to become a named community. When the railroad came through in the 1890s, Uncle Marion sold them right-of-way for one share of stock and an agreement to build a side-rail at that location. After the switch and side-rail were installed, the trains would deposit rail cars onto the side-rail for local farmers to load their timber products on. It provided a convenient market for cross-ties, acid wood, and other wood products. Uncle Marion owned the land around the area so it became known as Roberts Switch. Uncle Marion opened a general store which operated in the area into the 1950s. He also operated a saw-mill in the same area.
Francis Marion's vision and entrepreneurial spirit founded Roberts Switch. Thus it was appropriate to have the bridge dedicated in his honor.
Local resident Neal Fisher originally envisioned the proposal. Angela (Roberts) Stout submitted a written proposal to County Commissioner Danny Holmes. We would like to express our appreciation to Danny Holmes, Randy Porter, Brian Williams, and Paul Bailey for their support in advancing this proposal. Without their support, this would not have happened.