Montgomery gets dose of Demopolis bird

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Representatives from the Demopolis area traveled Wednesday to Montgomery to promote finishing the four-laning of Highway 80. Included in the trip were gifts for Joe McInnes, director of the Department of Transportation, and Governor Bob Riley.

As a tribute to the 1918 auction of roosters that paid for the construction of the first Rooster Bridge west of Demopolis, the Demopolis group delivered one rooster each to the state officials.

The group included Kathy Leverett, president of the Demopolis Area Chamber of Commerce, Allen Bishop, chairman of the chamber board, Olen Kerby, chairman of the Demopolis Industrial Development Board, and Mark Johnson of Commercial Bank.

Email newsletter signup

Kirk Brooker of the Marengo County Historical Society and Gwyn Turner, local historian, were also on hand to explain the historical significance of the roosters.

The roosters were donated by Ben Sherrod.

DOT was the first stop, and director McInnes received his rooster, named "Ben," in good spirit, even when the bird began crowing during the meeting. McInnes called "Ben" "a fine specimen….Because of this rooster I will never forget (Highway 80)."

Brooker also told the story of a group from Montgomery who pledged $55,000 to buy the rooster "Woodrow" donated by President Woodrow Wilson for the original auction. "Unfortunately we never got the check," he told McInness. Brooker gave him a statement for $35 million including the compounded interest accumulated from 1918. That amount "should certainly cover what we need to (complete) the Highway 80 project."

Chief of Staff Toby Roth looked concerned about what was hidden under the white sheet in his office. Governor Riley could not greet the visitors because of a meeting conflict.

After rooster "Bob" was unveiled, Roth said it was a first in the governor’s office.