The next several weeks will feature places we visited on our most recent trip up to the mountains - I hope you enjoy our adventure! Our first photographic stop was Watson Mill Bridge State Park. Our focus during our stop is the old covered bridge across the river. This bridge is located in a small town known as Comer, Georgia - although our GPS seemed to think it was in Colbert, Georgia. Either way, it is a rural part of Georgia located a short distance from Athens, Georgia in Madison County. Hopefully some day in the future we can spend more than a few hours as this park has some beautiful areas to hike, have a picnic and during the summer I am sure there are many swimming in the river.
This is the longest covered bridge in the state of Georgia, spanning 229 feet across the South Fork River. The original bridge was built in 1885. The son of a freed slave and famous covered bridge builder (Horace King) this bridge was built by Washington (W.W.) King. The bridge has a 'town lattice truss system' that is held together firmly with wooden pins. This is a single lane bridge and continues to be used today - we drove across it slowly.
Based on information for this state park provided by the Georgia Parks systems, this is one of less than 20 covered bridges that still remain out of over 200 back in the day. NOTE: There is a $5 daily parking fee for this state park at the time of our visit.
The actual address of the park is listed as 650 Watson Mill Road, Comer, Georgia 30629 in Madison County. GPS Coordinates are: N 34.025000 | W -083.074983
Upon entry into the park, we found the covered bridge quickly. Here is our first look after we got our dogs and gear out of the car.
Unfortunately, even though it is the middle of October, fall really hasn't started here in the middle of Georgia. For the photographer folks out there, this particular photograph was taken at 9:16 am and the sun isn't to high yet giving us a chance to get some good lighting.
Looking directly into the bridge - it was safe as we seemed to be the only ones here at this time - the parking lot was empty except for our truck.
I always take photographs like this to help remember what we were photographing at the time. This historical marker gives you some information on the bridge. The bridge was restored in 1973 by the Georgia Department of Transportation.
Taking a moment to look at what is to the right of the bridge down river.
At one time there was a functional mill located here. One historical site found on Google says that the bridge was built to allow access to the mill built by Gabriel Watson in 1798. This was about 300 feet south of the present location of the bridge on the south fork of the Broad River. "A sluice extended past the shoals now below the bridge and provided water to power both a sawmill and grist mill. There were other shops in the small community that developed around the mill. In 1900 the mill fell victim to technology. In place of the sluice, a raceway was built to deliver water from the dam to the turbine that generated electricity for Jefferson Mills (a textile mill) in nearby Crawford. With the rise of electricity in rural areas in Georgia during the 1950's it was no longer economical to create power from the dam, and after stripping the site of everything of value the company let it sit until it donated the land to the state of Georgia in 1971." http://roadsidegeorgia.com/site/watson_mill.html
The paddle boats have a small area that is 'stoned' off from the flowing river allowing a leasure paddle for those that might be interested.
If you walk down the path a little bit, you'll see the stone wall here that separates the paddle boats from the fast flowing water.
After crossing the river via the covered bridge, you can walk down on to the rocks and get into the water or just relax.
Until next week.