Campbell’s Covered Bridge – Gowensville, South Carolina
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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. 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.”
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Campbell’s Covered Bridge is listed in the National Register:
Campbell’s Covered Bridge, built in 1909, is significant for its role in transportation in early twentieth century Greenville County and as an excellent intact example of a Howe truss covered bridge, the only surviving covered bridge in the state. Charles Irwin Willis, an accomplished local builder in the northern part of Greenville County, built the bridge. The bridge was named for Alexander Lafayette Campbell, local landowner and millwright who lived at the site and operated a corn grist mill about 50 feet downstream from the bridge. The bridge was one of four covered bridges built in this part of northern Greenville County in the first decade of the twentieth century. Campbell’s Covered Bridge was the largest and most sophisticated of the four.
The construction of this bridge connected several rural communities and small towns in the immediate vicinity, so that a 25-mile trip which had once taken a full day before the bridge was completed could be made in about an hour afterwards. Campbell’s Covered Bridge is a four-span Howe truss bridge with counter braces. The two outer spans are 9’ long and the two inner spans are 8’ long. Each truss is 4” x 8”, and each counter brace is made from 2” x 8” pine boards nailed together in an interlocking pattern. Vertical tie rods called kingposts, made from 1” diameter iron rods, are in between each span, tying the top and bottom chords together. This method of truss construction absorbs and transfers a passing vehicle’s weight to the rock abutments on each end of the bridge. The bridge is 35’ long by 12’ wide and has a metal roof.
Campbell’s Covered Bridge Info
Address: 171 Campbell Covered Bridge Road, Landrum, SC 29356
GPS Coordinates: 35.085771,-82.264147
Campbell’s Covered Bridge Map
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