During my Northeast Georgia Road Trip, I visited two of Georgia’s historic covered bridges: The Watson Mill Bridge at Watson Mill Bridge State Park near Comer in Madison County and the Stovall Mill Bridge in Sautee Nacoochee in White County.
I visited the Watson Mill Bridge on my way to Northeast Georgia on Monday, 6 June 2022. Restored by Georgia DOT in 1973, the Watson Mill Bridge is the centerpiece of the Watson Mill Bridge State Park near Comer, GA. The 229 foot bridge crosses the South Fork of the Broad River and is the longest covered bridge in Georgia. It was built in 1885 by W.W. King, the son of freed slave and well known covered bridge builder Horace King using a town lattice truss system and uses thick wooden pegs to hold everything together. The site around the bridge was also home to a community organized around the Watson Mill from 1798 to 1904, though there’s nothing left of the community on site today. A hydroelectric plant operated just downriver from the bridge from 1905-1954 and the remains of it are located on a trail south of the bridge. The bridge is still open to traffic on a road that goes through the park and as a History geek, it was pretty cool to get to drive through it.
On Thursday, 9 June 2022, I visited the Stovall Mill Bridge just off of GA-255 in Sautee Nacoochee. It’s a smaller bridge than the Watson Mill Bridge, but it’s just as picturesque. The site was home to a bridge that crossed Chickamauga Creek and a grist, saw, and shingle mill that was built in the 1880s; the current bridge on the site is 38 feet long and was built in 1895 to replace the original bridge that washed away in the early 1890s. The mill and the dam that powered it washed away in 1964, leaving just the bridge. It is not open to vehicle traffic, but you can walk across it. Unfortunately, not being in a park like the Watson Mill Bridge, it’s been defaced with graffiti.