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Auchumpkee Creek Covered Bridge

The Auchumpkee Creek Covered Bridge was completed in October, 1892 by the firm of Herring and Alford for the cost of $1,194.98. The bridge had a span of 96 feet between the stone piers and a total length of 120 feet 9 inches. It was designed by Dr. J. W. Herring (1823-1911).

It is of the Town Truss design which was patented in 1820, by Ithiel Town of Connecticut. The 3 by 10 inch heart pine crisscross lattice of the bridge trusses are pinned at the joints with wooden pegs and are very strong. It was said of this design that it could be built by the mile and cut off by the yard. Bridges were covered to protect the structural parts from the elements to prevent decay. Other reasons given for covering bridges included providing shelter for people and cargo during storms, and enabling animals to cross gorges of flowing water. This bridge was closed to vehicular traffic in 1985.

In July 1994 tropical storm Alberto dumped 15 inches of rain onto the area in a single day and turned placid Auchumpkee Creek into a raging river. Washing a huge tree limb along like a battering ram, it knocked the Auchumpkee Creek Bridge from its stacked stone moorings and smashed it against the overpass on Allen Road, 30 yards downstream.

Chairman Bobby C Smith of the Upson Historical Preservation Commission raised over $42,000 locally to retrieve timbers and restore the landmark. In addition, FEMA provided $166,000 for its restoration.

In 1977 reconstruction began by Bew Hampshire based, Arnold M. Graton & Associates, who specialize in covered bridge restorations. The framework was built in the bridge's original Town Lattice design, using traditional construction techniques, including wooden pegs "trunnels" to hold the bridge together. Other traditional methods included utilizing live stock to pull the framework onto its base. Approximately 30% of the original timbers were used in the reconstruction. The dedication for this bridge took place during the City of Thomaston’s Covered Bridge Arts Festival, October 9-11, 1998.

A safeguard was put in place to prevent future destruction like that of the 1994 flood was to raise the foundation by two feet.

Today, the Auchumpkee Creek bridge is maintained by Upson County. For more history, contact the Thomaston-Upson Archives.

covered bridge