CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Local historian Cheryl Wintz Withrow might not know who the first person will be to cross the Dick Henderson Memorial Bridge between Nitro and St. Albans when it reopens on Friday, but she knows who was one of the first to cross the bridge when it was originally built.
Dorothy "Dot" Davis, Withrow's great-aunt, crossed the brand-new bridge on a bicycle on Nov. 12, 1934, the day the bridge opened. Withrow has the photograph to prove it.
"There wasn't anything she couldn't do," said Withrow. "She was very athletic."
Withrow has spent the past 15 years as president of the Upper Vandalia Historical Society, a group that keeps tabs on Kanawha Valley history. William Davis Wintz, Withrow's father and author of the book "Nitro: The World War I Boom Town," founded the historical society to study the region's history.
When Wintz died earlier this year, Withrow and her sisters -- Julia Kiff, Bille Wood and Bobbie Beddow -- found the photograph of Davis in Wintz's vast collection of artifacts.
"The picture belongs to all of us," Withrow said.
Davis, a longtime employee of Monsanto, was 28 the day she crossed the brand-new Nitro-St. Albans Bridge and had her photograph preserved for history.
Withrow said no one today knows why she crossed the bridge that day. Maybe she was on her way for a round of golf, or maybe she just crossed the bridge on a whim.