Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Q&A: Bridges, Christmas, Thanksgiving song

Causeway or bridge?

Can you tell me why the Howard Frankland is called a bridge yet the Courtney Campbell is called a causeway?

Since both fall under the jurisdiction of the Florida Department of Transportation, we asked FDOT District 7 public information officer Kristen Carson for a response. She writes:

"Causeways are typically filled-in areas of the bay creating a narrow strip of land and roadway. Years ago this technique was used instead of building long bridges.

"The Howard Frankland bridge does have small causeways at each end but is mostly bridge. The Courtney Campbell is mostly causeway with a shorter section of bridge.

"A causeway is a road or railway route across a broad body of water or wetland raised up on an embankment primarily supported on earth or stone.

"Whereas a bridge/viaduct carries a road or railway across a broad body of water or wetland that is supported on piers or columns and is free-standing."

Birth of Jesus

Christ wasn't born on Dec. 25, so when did we start celebrating Christmas in December and why?

Early church leaders debated whether Christ's birth should be celebrated, since pagan gods often were honored on their birthdays, a 2008 Christianity Today article stated. Several dates were discussed before the early church decided on Dec. 25 because it coincided with other winter festivals. The timing would make it "easier to convince Rome's pagan subjects to accept Christianity as the empire's official religion," states.

Christmas was first celebrated around 336, but Epiphany, which marks the arrival of the wise men and is celebrated in early January, and Easter were considered more important holidays for centuries.

Over the River …

Who wrote the lyrics to the old song, Over the River and Through the Woods? And when?

Lydia Maria Child, who was born and raised in Massachusetts, wrote Over the River and Through the Woods as a Thanksgiving poem in 1844. It originally was called A Boy's Thanksgiving Day or The New-England Boy's Song About Thanksgiving Day and appeared in her Flowers for Children, Volume 2.

The poem was written before Thanksgiving became an official U.S. holiday in 1863 and later was set to music.

"Child never revised the poem herself, but the verses changed over time, especially when they were set to music," according to In addition to being a poet, journalist and author, Child was a women's rights activist and abolitionist.

Compiled from Times and wire reports. To submit a question, email

Q&A: Bridges, Christmas, Thanksgiving song 12/26/13 [Last modified: Thursday, December 26, 2013 4:02pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Grocery chain Aldi hiring for 500 positions across Florida


    Aldi, the German grocery store chain, is hiring for 500 positions across Florida, including at its locations in Tampa Bay. The company will hold a "one-day hiring spree" Thursday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. at all Aldi stores in the state, a Tuesday release said.

    Aldi, a German grocery store chain, is hiring for 500 positions across the state. | [Times file photo]
  2. A botched surgery left a barber with erectile dysfunction. Decades later, he took revenge.

    The old man booked his appointment under an alias.

    In this July 27, 2017 file photo, Stanwood Fred Elkus, accused of shooting and killing his doctor at the doctor's office in Newport Beach in 2013, is wheeled into Orange County Superior Court in Santa Ana, Calif.
  3. Irma's death toll in Florida rises to 42, but will grow


    TALLAHASSEE —Deadly carbon monoxide fumes have killed 11 people in Florida as Hurricane Irma's death toll rose to 42 on Tuesday, state officials reported.

    A resident walks by a pile of debris caused by a storm surge during Hurricane Irma in Everglades City. The isolated Everglades City community of about 400 people suffered some of Florida's worst storm surges, up to 9 feet (2.7 meters), when Hurricane Irma slammed the region eight days ago, leaving the insides of homes a sodden mess and caking the streets with mud. The storm affected nearly every part of the state, and, so far, the death toll stands at 42. [AP Photo | Alan Diaz]
  4. After Irma, Tampa Bay synagogues get ready for Rosh Hashana


    As the holiest days of the Jewish calendar approached, so did Hurricane Irma.

    Congregants open the ark which holds several torah scrolls during Selichot services at Congregation B'nai Israel of St. Petersburg on Saturday, September 16, 2017. The Jewish new year, Rosh Hashana begins at sundown on Wednesday night.
  5. For ex-Rays/now Cubs manager Joe Maddon, the legacy is in the jeans


    Joe Maddon has plenty of memories of his time at the Trop during nine years of managing the Rays. "Too many to count,'' he said.