Thursday, April 28, 2016

Oak Creek Covered Bridge

I was looking at the map around Warm Springs and noticed a covered bridge about 9 miles away.  It also wasn't one of those refab, fake ones like the Wolf Covered Bridge in Knoxville.  The original Wolf burned in 1994 and they should have just built a new bridge rather than foist a replica on us.  Who cares for brand new fake?   

Approaching this one, the Oak Creek Covered Bridge, one must pass through this iron structure to make sure you can fit on the bridge.  Yup, they actually allow traffic to cross; it is a real, working, old, covered bridge.  








This was built by slaves in 1840.  I'll wait a bit while all that sinks in.  Now let me add another layer:  the chief builder was a freed slave, Horace King.  Constructed on the "Town Lattice" design, the crisscrossing web of planks (at 45 to 60 degree angles) were joined together by 2500 wooden pegs, or trunnels.  King built many bridges in this part of Georgia, but this is the only surviving one of this design.



If the Little White House is a preserved time capsule, so is this slave-built 175 year old wooden bridge.  Amazing.  



While we were there a car came along and passed through the bridge.  Not to be outdone, I drove through it as  well.  




At 391 feet including the approaches, this is the oldest and longest covered bridge in Georgia.  





The above pictures are the wooden pegs that were used instead of nails.  They weren't small, either.  Probably a couple of inches wide  and 7 or 8 inches long.





I doubt that the creek has changed much.  The beauty of it makes it difficult to imagine the slave labor that enabled this bridge.  And of course the history it has seen.



Also of some note was the lack of graffiti.  Yes, there was some on the peripheral edges - love notes mostly.  A couple years ago I went to Wolf Covered Bridge with Pat and almost every inch of that bridge is covered in graffiti, not always very pleasant.  I wonder why?  Are Northlandia vandals less respectful?  Do Georgian youth have an inherent admiration of their history? 

We walked a bit, drove through it, talked to some other visitors and then we left for other Georgian adventures.  I have to admit I'd not thought much about how almost everything of a historical nature at least 150 years old was most likely constructed with slave labor.  It gives one pause.  And then to be lucky enough to interact with this old bridge was thrilling.  I doubt that Mr. King could have imagined his engineering would survive this long.  I wonder how much longer it can last?  

2 comments:

  1. Great post Mike. Excellent pictures and story. It is interesting how folks down here appreciate and embrace their history. They restore with an eye toward historic accuracy and to preserve what they can of their heritage.

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  2. I wonder why the heat and humidity haven't done damage to the bridge. Great story though. Thanks for posting

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