Big Mac Bridge

Information comes from an article by Jim Reis in Pieces of the Past Volume1, pages 37-39 and reprinted here with his permission


Daniel Carter Beard
Photo submitted by Jeff Weimer

The I-471 bridge between Newport and Cincinnati bears two golden arches and is affectionately called the Big Mac Bridge by locals, but is actually named the Daniel Carter Beard Bridge.  It was named in memory of the father of the Boy Scouts of America by popular vote of the citizens of Northern Kentucky and southwestern Ohio and dedicated February 13, 1977.

Daniel Carter Beard was born June 21, 1850 at 17 W. Ninth St. in Cincinnati, the son of James Henry and Mary Caroline Carter Beard.  The family moved to Covington and rented a house at 322 E Third St. when he was 11.  Beard spent many hours exploring the banks of the Ohio and Licking rivers and the woods outside Covington.  He picked up a nickname to match his developing passion.  He was a husky boy and his uncle pegged him "Buffalo".

During the Civil War, Union forces were stationed along the Northern Kentucky hilltops as a defensive perimeter for Cincinnati.  The tales the soldiers told made the young Beard a frequent camp visitor. He organized his companions into a small group of boy pioneers who built their own secret camp along Banklick Creek.  Part of the fun of going to the camp was sneaking past soldiers on sentry duty.

Daniel majored in engineering at Worrmall's Academy in Covington and graduated as a civil engineer and surveyor.  He helped survey hills for the streetcar inclines later built on Mt. Adams and Price Hill.  In 1878 he moved to New York and became an illustrator for many magazines and book, including Mark Twain's "Connecticut Yankee", "Tom Sawyer" and "Huckleberry Finn."

In 1894 he married Beatrice Alice Jackson and had a son and daughter.  In 1905 he became editor of "Recreation" and the business manager suggested that the magazine start an organization for juvenile sportsmen.  Beard liked the idea and founded an organization called the Sons of Daniel Boone.  It was through his involvement with the Sons of Daniel Boone that Beard met Sir Robert Baden-Powell.  He had started a program based on Beards called "Boy Scout".  When he returned to America in 1910 it was under the title of Boy Scout of America.  Beards Son of Pioneer merged with this organization and Beard became its first national scout commissioner, a position he held the rest of his life.

In 1934, during his last visit to Covington, Beard was honored with a parade that included scouts from Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia.  Beard died June 11, 1941, 10 days before his 91st birthday.  His boyhood home was made a national landmark in 1966 and a statue adjacent to the home on Third Street was dedicated in 1988. Beard is buried in Rockland County, New York.


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