Poole's Mill Covered Bridge LbNA # 19042 (ARCHIVED)
|Placed Date||Apr 17 2005|
VANDALIZED AND MISSING!
Poole’s Mill Covered Bridge
The covered bridge is in Poole’s Mill Park in unincorporated Ducktown, in Forsyth County. The park has a pavilion, restrooms and a playground. The stream is a popular place to swim, slide down rocks and to fish. Take your bathing suit and/or a fishing rod! Hurry up though, the way the area is getting built up, soon the water will be too polluted or swimming will be prohibited.
If you get there, like I do, from Hwy 575, you will go through a very historical part of Cherokee County. From Hwy 575, on Hwy 20 E, you first go through Lathamtown. Back in the 1930’s, this was the largest mule market in the southeast. Mules were very important to the farmers of the time, being stronger and smarter than horses. Yes, I know that mules are supposed to be stubborn, but that’s because they’re smart. Mules won’t allow themselves to be overloaded or over worked. They’ll just sit down. And they won’t go into a place they think they can’t get out of. But if they are treated right, they will work as long as you do. According to my daddy, in the ‘30s there were over 100 mule barns in Lathamtown. As far as I can tell, there is only one left, and it’s not the Mule Barn pet supply! It’s the one just across the street from the pet supply building.
The next town on Hwy 20 is Free Home. There are a lot of stories about how it got its name, the most common being that when this part of Georgia was being settled, if you came to the area, you could get a free home place of 10 acres. The other popular story is that the name is from a Cherokee word that the settlers misunderstood.
The bridge itself is on the site of a grist mill. The plaque at the bridge reads “Cherokee Chief George Welch constructed a grist mill here on his extensive homeplace c 1820. An uncovered bridge was later added. With the 1838 removal of the Cherokees the land was sold to Jacob Scudder. Dr. M L Poole purchased it from the Scudder family in 1880. Abandoned in 1947, the mill burned in 1959. The original bridge washed away in 1899 and was replaced with the present 96 foot structure in 1901. Constructed in the Town lattice design by Bud Gentry, the bridge’s web of planks crisscrossing at 45 and 60 degree angles are fastened with wooden pegs or trunnels at each intersection.”
Dad remembers the grist mill as he lived in the area in the 1930s. He also remembers going to mill pond for a baptismal one spring Sunday. He says that as one woman was being baptized the minister lost his hold on her and she started to float down the stream! Either she was enraptured or terrified but she didn’t try to swim, just floated down the steam. Dad says two or three men jumped in and caught her before the rapids. I don’t know how much I believe this; Dad has been known to tell a tale or two.
Directions to the park
From Hwy 575 north, take exit 19 to Hwy 20 E. On Hwy 20 E, go through Lathamtown and Free Home. Past Free Home, look for Heardsville Rd on the left. If you go past the Unincorporated Ducktown sign, you’ve gone too far. Go a few miles on Heardsville Rd. and take a left onto Heardsville Circle. From Heardsville Circle, turn right onto Poole’s Mill Rd and then a quick left into the park.
Directions to the Box
Park in the parking lot and walk towards the pavilion. Walk past the pavilion and down the hill to the bridge. Cross the bridge, cross the paved path and walk down the dirt path directly across from the bridge. Before you get to the stream, take the dirt path to the right. Look out for the mud puddles! Just beyond the mud puddles you will see a path to the left. If you go down this path you will get to a fence keeping you from the stream but some enterprising person has made a hole just big enough to get though. Go through to the stream if you want to, but the box isn’t there. Instead take 10 steps past the left hand path to some rocks. Look to your right and there is our favorite place to hide things, downed trees and a stump. Look under a rock at the base of the stump and you will find the covered bridge box. The stamp was provided by Cherokee Rose. Stamp in and enjoy!
All the usual disclaimers apply. BE CAREFUL! Be respectful of the environment. Take out only what you brought in. Hide better than you found. FUN IS THE ONLY OPTION!