Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Concord Covered Bridge

One lane Wooden BridgeThese photos were taken yesterday in the historic district of Ruff's Mill - Concord Covered Bridge, located on Concord Rd. in Smyrna. This district is considered the holy grail of Smyrna - it is one of the oldest communities in Cobb County. This little one lane wooden bridge is 12 feet wide and crosses old railway lines, what is now the Silver Comet Trail. It has been receiving a lot of attention in the Marietta Daily Journal of late. The Georgia Department of Transportation wants to turn this bridge into a two-lane bridge. The GDOT says that upon the bridge's last inspection it received a sufficiency rating of 14 out of 100. But area residents fear that turning the bridge into a two-lane would endanger the historical Covered Bridge that is a little further down the road. According to the MDJ, Jeff Carr, GDOT historian denies this, claiming that

it would be 'nearly impossible' to to replace the covered bridge because of all the state and federal agencies that would need to sign off on the project.

Perhaps so. But after consideration, I think that the area residents are right in their concerns with keeping the bridge a one lane. Not only will it help preserve the historical value of this district, but there is also a safety concern. Right now, the bridge serves as a 'slowing point', especially for motorists who are headed in the direction of the Covered Bridge. This one lane wooden bridge gets a lot of traffic each day. Whenever vehicles, arriving from different directions, approach the bridge, each must stop and take turns to cross. Once the bridge is crossed, the road declines and it is very narrow with sharp curves. Within a minute or so, drivers will approach the Covered Bridge, which is also a one-lane. After one has passed through the Covered Bridge, the road is a two lane again, now climbing up hill and still very narrow. Anyone who has driven this road/area knows that fast driving is very dangerous.

I fail to understand how turning this bridge into a two lane will help traffic in this area. Sooner or later, with Cobb's continuous population growth, the new two lane bridge would no longer be enough. Then what?

Concord Covered BridgeThe Concord Covered Bridge, which crosses over Nickajack Creek, was originally built c 1848 - 1850. During the Civil War, on July 4, 1864, Union soldiers burned it, along with the Concord Woolen Mill, downstream, that made Confederate uniforms. The ruins of the mill are now a part of Cobb County's Heritage Park.

The Concord bridge was rebuilt in 1872 by Robert Daniell and Martin L. Ruff, measuring 16 feet wide and 131.7 in length. It still serves the public very well. The mill was also rebuilt after the war but it went out of business in 1916.

John Gann HomeAfter you pass through the Covered Bridge, continuing on Concord Rd., on the left you will see a large white house that sits on a small hill. This house was built around the year 1841 for John Gann, Cobb County's first State Senator. I didn't know very much about the Gann's so I did a little research. I was surprised to find that Agnes Barnes, mother of former Governor, Roy Barnes once lived there. Then again, I'm not, because the Barnes family reside in and around Smyrna-Mableton area. The house originally sat on 380 acres of land - and a lot of drama has happened to both the occupants and the house over the years. Here is a good read on the Gann's, The Reconstruction of an Amazing House. According to the Smyrna Historical Society, it is the oldest building in Smyrna.

Gann CemeteryAfter leaving the Gann House, if you continue on Concord Rd., you will soon see South Hurt Rd. on the right. Turn onto South Hurt Rd. and take the next road to the right, which will be Fowler Rd. Follow the road until it dead ends - here you will find the Gann Cemetery. I was shocked. The cemetery is almost completely destroyed. Tombstones are tumbled and broken. Graves look like they have been half way dug-up. If you walk in the front gate, John Gann's grave is straight ahead, at the back of the cemetery. The top of his tombstone is lying on the ground behind the base. A friend of mine said that it looks like some work has been going on there, that at one time many things were spray-painted. This is sad.

But I hope that work will continue there...

Below is a Picasa Slide Show of more pics of the area. Click on the link within the album to see a larger view.

See also:

Woolen Mill

Drive on Concord Road

Roots Web - Daniell Family and Concord Woolen Mill