- Mary Caldwell For the AJC
Georgia's covered bridges are a throwback to a bygone era, but their beauty remains all these years later.
Many of those covered bridges, which were sheltered to protect the decaying wooden bridges from weather conditions, haven't survived over the years, but there are still just under 20 covered bridges in Georgia, according to the National Society for the Preservation of Covered Bridges. They each have their own unique charm and characteristics, and all are worth exploring.
650 Watson Mill Road, Comer
At 229 feet long, Watson Mill Bridge is the longest covered bridge in the state and one of the longest in the U.S. It was built in 1885 by Washington (W.W.) King and is supported by a Town lattice truss system and wooden pins. It's located in Watson Mill Bridge State Park and was originally built to allow access to a nearby mill.
7725 Pooles Mill Road, Cumming
Built in 1901 by Bud Gentry, Poole's Mill Covered Bridge is over Settledown Creek in Poole’s Mill Park. It has a Town lattice truss that has a distinctive and interesting criss-cross pattern. The bridge's construction was originally started by another builder who put some holes in the wrong place, and they can still be seen today.
Concord Road SW, Smyrna
This bridge has seen several changes over the years and still allows vehicle traffic. It was built over Nickajack Creek in 1848, was burned during the Civil War and then was rebuilt in 1872. After an upgrade in the 1950s, it was renovated in 1999. It's about three miles from the Concord Cemetery, and it's rumored to be haunted by three little girls who supposedly drowned in the waters below the bridge. The bridge is closed for repairs from August 2017 to roughly the end of November, 2017.
GA Hwy 106 E, Carnesville
Spanning Nails Creek, this bridge was named after the Cromer family's woolen mill, which was later joined by a cotton, flour and saw mill in the community. Franklin County officials commissioned the building of the 110-foot bridge, and a descendant of the original Cromer family built the stone abutments.
Georgia Highway 62 and Old River Road, Blakely
Coheelee Creek is said to be the southernmost historic covered bridge in the U.S. Built in 1891 for a cost of $490.41, it was restored in 1994 and had further improvements in 2014. The bridge is not open for foot traffic, but there's a small park on the northern end that has picnic tables. It spans a creek that has some churning water.
4400 Haralson Mill Road, Conyers
While most wooden bridges are over a hundred years old, this bridge is quite new. Also known as the Rockdale County Covered Bridge, it was built in 1997 -the first of its kind to be built in the state since the 1890s. It's near a historic district that includes the old mill site and a general store.