In spite of this rather economical reason, most would have to agree that a covered bridge enhances the country landscape. An excursion to investigate an old weather worn covered bridge can have the effect of bringing one back to a simpler time. If you have a chance to visit a covered bridge, you might want to take a few moments to sit quietly by the river. You just might hear the squeak of wagon wheels and the thud of hoofs echoing from inside the old wooden bridge. Northeast Georgia has five of these architectural treasures left…
Cromer's Mill Bridge
At one time, the Cromer's Mill community was a bustling, moving region in northeast Georgia. According to an article in the Carnesville Herald, a little knoll close to the bridge was the scene of "speakings up" (political speeches), a gathering point and a place of community pride. Progress and a faster moving society have bypassed Cromer's Mill Bridge. A derelict now, it stands alone to face an uncertain future. From "Covered Bridges of Georgia" by Thomas L. French, Jr. & Edward L. French.
Suffering from neglect for a long time, restoration began on this bridge just in time. The repairs were completed in September 1999 and the bridge is in surprisingly better condition. The bridge had a twist in it that was corrected with new galvanized steel bracing (the different appearance of the steel indicates that this part of the structure is not historic). Repairs also included replacement of a part of the top chord and some of the original bracing.
Local interest has increased as the bridge has gotten attention from the local papers and is the namesake of a nearby subdivision. Stapled on the inside of the bridge are placards from National Society for the Preservation of Covered Bridges and the Theodore Burr Covered Bridge Society of Pennsylvania.
Other names: Nails Creek Covered Bridge
Length: 132 ft., Width: ft.,
Built: 1906, Builder: J.M. 'Pink' Hunt
Truss: Town lattice Stream: Nails Creek Road name: Adjacent to State Route 106 Traffic: No WGCB Number: 10-59-01
Picnic Area: Not maintained/overgrown
Owner: Franklin County
Hurricane Shoals Covered Bridge
The Creek and Cherokee Indians believed that the land between the points of Yamacutah (Tumbling Shoals) and Yamtrahoochee (Hurricane Shoals) was sacred. Located in Maysville at Hurridan Shoals Park. This bridge was constructed in the image of the original 1886 bridge that was burned by vandals in 1972. Directions: From Athens take 441 North to Commerce. In Commerce, turn left onto Highway 98 West. Cross I-85 going toward Maysville. After about 2 miles, turn left onto Highway 82 Spur. The park is 2 miles down on the left.
Located immediately south of the town of Lula on an abandoned golf course, this bridge has the distinction of being the smallest covered bridge in Georgia and one of the smallest in the United States. This bridge can be seen from Antioch Road, but so can plenty of No Trespassing signs. Located on private property, a visit is not recommended despite the rather welcoming picnic tables and sign posted on the bridge.
This bridge was in service until 1969 when a nearby concrete bridge was built on the road's present alignment. In 1975 the bridge was taken apart and completely rebuilt on the banks before being lifted by a crane and placed back on its original foundations. This bridge is often referred to as the Blind Susie Bridge, but according to a local historian, that bridge was located on the other side of Banks County. Though it has since fallen, he said that remnants can still be seen in the creek. The real Blind Susie was a colorful woman who sat on her porch selling jars of moonshine that were hidden under her skirts.
Other names: Blind Susie Bridge, Hyder Bridge
Length: 34 ft., Width: ft.
Built: 1915, Builder: W. M. Thomas
Truss: Kingpost (King-rod)
Stream: Grove Creek
Road name: None, Traffic: No
WGCB Number: 10-06-06#2
Picnic area: No
Historic marker: No
Poole's Mill Bridge
North Georgia is blessed with a wild and beautiful land. The fingers of the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains spread over the north central part of the State and become the watershed to the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico with every valley nourished by lively streams. It was to this land the pioneers of the state came to lay the foundations for their homes, mills and churches. Because of the rugged land and poor transportation the settlements sprang-up close together. "No more'en a mile or two apart," according to W. A. Wood. Not many crossings by ford could be made on the wild streams and so the need for bridges arose. - From "Covered Bridges of Georgia" by Thomas L. French, Jr. & Edward L. French
Poole's Mill is secondary in historic significance to the mill nearby and is the only structure in Forsyth County currently included in the National Register of Historic Places. Cherokee Chief George Welch constructed the mill for which the site is named with slave labor circa 1820. With the Cherokee removal in 1838. Chief Welch was unable to continue ownership of the mill; however his brother-in-law, Jacob Scudder, purchased the property from John Maynard who was awarded the property in the Gold Lottery of 1832. Scudder owned and operated the mill from 1833 until 1868. Following Scudder's death in 1870, the mill was purchased by Dr. M. L. Poole. Hence, the area came to be known as Poole's Mill, and this designation remains to the present. Abandoned by the demise of the King Cotton Era in 1947, the mill burned in 1959. Fortunately, the covered bridge on the same land lot did not experience the same fate at the mill. A flash flood in 1899 washed away the wooden bridge and was replaced the present 96 foot covered structure in 1901. Constructed in the Town lattice design by Bud Gentry, the bridge's web of planks crisscrossing at the number 45 to 60 degree angles are fastened with wooden pegs, or trunnels, at each intersection. Approximately 5,000 holes and 1,680 wooden pegs are required for each 100 feet of 96 x 14.5 feet bridge of this type.
Originally the bridge was constructed by John Wofford, who drilled all the holes in the lattice members in the wrong place and, consequently, upon discovering these miss-fittings, departed the country with a gallon of corn whiskey never to be heard from again. The misplaced holes are still visible today.
Even the treads of the bridge are members that could not be used because of the misplaced holes. Treads with holes side-by-side were to have been used in the chords, while those with diagonally offset holes would have been lattice members.
Though this bridge looked very beat up, structurally it was quite sound (see Stovall Mill for a bridge that looked sound and wasn't). With the addition of a new pier in the middle, new weather boarding, and a new wood shingle roof, this bridge looks as good as new. And maybe better.
The pier in the middle of the creek was built during the 1998 rehab to take the sag out of the bridge and provide support. First a cofferdam was built and water was pumped out to give a dry work area. Then the bridge was jacked up in the middle lifting its end off of the abutment. Over a few days the bridge deformed under its own weight and settled back onto the abutment. Incremental jacking continued until the bridge was reasonably straight. Though it never was made totally straight (you can see the sag a little in the picture at right) the weather boarding was cut straight along the bottom to hide the sag. For the sake of authenticity the pier was given a smooth concrete finish rather than trying to make it look like part of the original bridge by finishing it with rock facing.
Forsyth County has made a real commitment to this piece of local history by using money from their local option sales tax for the addition of a park with parking, a pavilion, and even horseshoe pits.
Access to the area is easy by traveling SR 20 to Heardville Road or SR 369 to Poole's Mill Road from either I-575 or SR 400.
Other names: Pool's Mill
Length: 94.6 ft., Width: 14.5 ft.
Built: 1901, Builder: Bud Gentry
Truss: Town lattice
Stream: Settendown Creek
Road name: Adjacent to Poole's Mill Road
WGCB Number: 10-58-01
Picnic area: Yes
Owner: Forsyth County
Stovall Mill Bridge
Photographer, Michael S. Hiler
Located in an area of White County, rich in history and legends of the Cherokee, Stovall Mill Bridge spans Chickamauga Creek. This is not to be confused with the more famous northwest Georgia Creek of the same name. An earlier covered bridge stood here but was washed away in the early 1890's. The bridge retains the name of the miller, Fred Stovall, Sr.; who operated the mill complex for many years. The gristmill, sawmill and shingle mill were powered by a water turbine. All are gone now; only the remains of the dam are evident. From "Covered Bridges of Georgia" by Thomas L. French, Jr. & Edward L. French. Built by the same family and located nearby is the Stovall House which has been converted into a Bed and Breakfast and restaurant. See more about the history of the Stovalls in this area.
This bridge is a short drive from the numerous attractions in the area and is worth the trip. The bridge appeared in the 1950's movie I'd Climb the Highest Mountain starring Susan Heyward.
Initial inspections of the bridge indicated fairly minor repairs would be necessary, but once work began the extent of the damage became clear. Much of the structural wood will had to be replaced or repaired with epoxy. Because of the queen post truss design these members are fairly heavy. Before rehabilitation of the truss, termite damage caused bearing failure in the bottom chord, and new replacement members (one rejected because it was not straight) in front of a badly listing bridge. Had any preventative maintenance been done in the recent past, a lot of problems would have been avoided. An important part of all the DOT rehab projects was installation of termite protection.
Other names: Helen Bridge, Sautee Bridge, Nacoochee Bridge, Chickamauga Bridge.
Length: 36.8 ft., Width: 11' 10"
Built: 1895, Builder: Will Pardue
Stream: Chickamauga Creek
Road name: Adjacent to State Route 255
WGCB Number: 10-154-03
Picnic Area: Yes
Owner: White County Historical Society
Framed above a fall of sparkling water and rock shoals, this "King" of the wooden bridge era is a photographer's delight. The bridge is featured as the main attraction in Watson Mill Bridge State Park, named after Gabriel Watson. Also located within the Park's Bridge and Mill Historic District are remnants of a mill complex and hydroelectric plant. The park also has fishing, picnic areas, cabins, hiking trails, and camping areas. A great place to visit, the office also sells postcards and t-shirts of the bridge. The park staff has prepared more information about the bridge and the recently expanded park site.
County: Oglethorpe & Madison Border
Other names: Carlton Bridge
Spans/Total Length: 3/228.6 ft., Width: ft.
Built: 1885, Builder: Washington W. King
Truss: Town lattice
Stream: South fork of the Broad River
Road name: Covered Bridge Road
WGCB Number: 10-97-01/10-109-02
Picnic Area: Yes
Historic marker: Yes
Owner: Watson Mill State Park
FYI… Watson Mill Bridge is the longest covered bridge in Georgia and the Stovall Mill Covered Bridge is the shortest covered bridge in Georgia!