Campbell’s Covered Bridge – Gowensville, South Carolina
South Carolina | SC Picture Project | Greenville County Photos | Campbell’s Covered Bridge
One of four covered bridges built in northeastern Greenville County in the early 20th century, this one was named for Lafayette Campbell, the owner of a nearby grist mill who allowed his land to be used for the bridge’s construction.
At the time, covered bridges were especially popular in the mountains because they provided extra protection for river and creek crossings in snow and ice. Easier access across the creeks in all kinds of weather significantly reduced travel time and helped connect the small communities scattered through this rural area. Among the many benefits, and perhaps foremost in the mind of Lafayette Campbell, was the fact that it was easier for farmers to bring their corn to his mill.
The Campbell Covered Bridge site is now owned by Greenville County. It was permanently closed to traffic in the early 1980s and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009. Major restorations have been undertaken twice, first in 1964 and again in 1990.
As you enter the bridge, a marker reads: “This bridge, built in 1909, is the last extant covered bridge in S.C. Built by Charles Irwin Willis (1878–1966), it was named for Alexander Lafayette Campbell (1836–1920), who owned and operated a grist mill here for many years. Measuring 35 feet long and 12 feet wide, it is an excellent example of a four-span Howe truss, featuring diagonal timbers and vertical iron rods.”