Watson Mill Bridge State Park
Type:State Park, Covered Bridge
The Bridges of Madison County, Georgia

Watson Mill Covered Bridge, Comer, Georgia

Horace King knew how to do at least one thing very well -- build covered bridges. He became so good at it before the Civil War that his name was recognizable by a variety of Georgians. It was a talent that King is still recognized for today, and that he handed down to his sons. The real story here is that Horace was black, a slave who was freed before the war.

Little of Horace King's work remains today, but there is plenty of his son's work, Washington (W. W.) King. The younger King built Euharlee Covered Bridge in Bartow County, among others. As typical of both the King's building technique, the Watson Mill Covered Bridge is of the Town Lattice design. Today W. W. King's most remarkable bridge building feats is the centerpiece to the Watson Mill Bridge State Park, just outside the town of Comer, Georgia

Built in 1885, the covered bridge was 236 feet long. When it was moved to its present location the bridge was shortened slightly to 229 feet. It remains the longest covered bridge in the state of Georgia and one of the longest in the United States.

History of the Bridge

The Watson Mill covered bridge was built to allow access to the mill built by Gabriel Watson in 1798 about 300 feet south of the present location of the bridge on the south fork of the Broad River. A sluice extended past the shoals now below the bridge and provided water to power both a sawmill and grist mill. There were other shops in the small community that developed around the mill.

In 1900 the mill fell victim to technology. In place of the sluice, a raceway was built to deliver water from the dam to the turbine that generated electricity for Jefferson Mills (a textile mill) in nearby Crawford.

With the rise of electricity in rural areas in Georgia during the 1950's it was no longer economical to create power from the dam, and after stripping the site of everything of value the company let it sit until it donated the land to the state of Georgia in 1971.

The state began a restoration effort, which centered around the covered bridge. In 1973 Watson Mill Bridge State Park opened to the public, and since that time has become a frequent stop on Roadside Georgia's itinerary.

About the Park

Kids sliding on the rocks at Watson Mill State ParkWith more that 1,000 acres of land, Watson Mill Bridge State Park is a fairly large park. Within its borders are camping, picnicking and picnic shelters, canoeing, fishing, hiking, and trails for biking enthusiasts. There is a separate developed area for horseback riders that includes stables, 12 miles of riding trails and camping area for riders.

The highlight of the park, however, is the bridge. Bring plenty of film as you will end up shooting more pictures than you think. The bridge is especially beautiful during sunset, when the brilliant reds and oranges enrich the natural color of the wood. Beneath the bridge is a series of shoal that provides endless entertainment for kids and adults alike, but be careful. Strong parental supervision is required for a safe time.

Location: Watson Mill Road, Southeast of Comer, Georgia
Directions: From Atlanta, take I-85 to exit 106, GA 316 East (21 miles from the I-75, I-85 split). Travel 316 East for 40 miles to the Athens loop (if you take the southern arc, its 17 miles to the exit for GA 72). Head east on GA72 to Comer (18 miles). Continue through Comer to Newtown Church Road. Turn right, then a quick left on GA 426 (Old Fork Cemetery Road). Follow this to Covered Bridge Road and turn right. Follow to Watson Mill Bridge State Park
Additional information:
Watson Mill State Park

Date added: November 16, 2003
Last update: January 4, 2004

State Park Listing
Fort Yargo State Park
Fort McAllister State Park
Red Top Mountain State Park
Etowah Indian Mounds State Park
Wormsloe Plantation
New Echota State Park
Dahlonega Gold Museum
Covered Bridge Listing
Poole's Mill Covered Bridge
Elder's Mill Covered Bridge
Euharlee Covered Bridge (also called the Lowry Covered Bridge)
Stovall Bridge

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