Cromer's Mill Covered Bridge, Carnesville Georgia

Date added: February 08, 2024 Categories: Georgia Covered Bridges Town Lattice Truss
Portal (1974)

Cromer's Mill Covered Bridge was constructed in 1907 in accordance with a contract awarded by the county to James M. Hunt whose bid of $1,623 was the lowest received. The bridge takes its name from the Cromer family who moved into Franklin County, Georgia, and settled on Nails Creek at this location in 1845. Mr. Will Cromer built the stone abutments on which this bridge rests and he was a descendent of the original family. The Cromers operated a woolen mill downstream from this bridge before the Civil War. Subsequently, the area boasted a cotton gin, flour mill, and sawmill. All of this ceased by 1943 and there are no salient remains near the bridge. Today there are several homes nearby and the vacated building of a small country store.

Cromer's Mill Covered Bridge is one of 21 covered bridges remaining in Georgia and one of only 13 still in use, though on a restricted basis. Thirteen of Georgia's remaining covered bridges are built of the Town Lattice design and the Cromer's Mill Covered Bridge is one of these. The Town Truss was designed and patented in 1820 by Ithiel Town, an architect of New Haven, Connecticut. Town realized the need for a covered bridge truss that could be quickly built by a carpenter and his was the first truly American design. The design consists of a web of light planks crisscrossed at an angle of 45 to 60 degrees, like a lattice, and fastened together with wooden pins or trunnels at each intersection. It is the most popular design for covered bridges in this country.

Bridge Description

Cromer's Mill Covered Bridge spans Nails Creek in Franklin County, Georgia, about eight miles south of Carnesville. This bridge has been bypassed by a modern concrete bridge on Georgia Route 106, about 50 yards away, but is still passable for vehicles and maintained in good condition by county highway maintenance crews. The bridge is completely covered and extends 111 feet with one span. The south end of the bridge has an uncovered approach made of wood six feet in length. The bridge is 16 feet wide, overall, and 17 feet high from the bottom of the lower chord to the ridge line of the roof. The trusses on each side are 14 feet high. Vehicle clearance is restricted to 9 feet for both height and width.

Construction is of the Town Lattice design and the wood is rough-sawn heart pine. The diagonals are made of 3 x 10 inch timbers and each is numbered indicating its place in the truss. This was a common practice to ease assembly. There are two pins at each intersection. There are two lower chords and one upper chord, each made of 3 x 10-inch timbers, doubled. The floor sills are 4 x 12 inches in size and placed about six feet apart. The floor joists are made of 3 x 6-inch planks with a longitudinal runner of the same size boards to provide a smooth surface for traffic and to minimize wear on the floor.

The bridge rests on stone abutments held together with concrete and on the south end a similarly constructed stone pier supports the bridge. The distance from the center of this pier to the abutment is 13 feet. In 1967, a steel truss was placed under the north end of this bridge some eight feet from the abutment, to add additional support "to the span. This truss is made of 12-inch steel I beams. Later, a single wooden pole was installed as a support on the east side of the bridge about 20 feet from the pier.

The sides are covered with pine boards and batten. The roof, now metal, was originally of wooden shingles. The metal roof, the restrictive portals, and the additional supports under the bridge are the only alterations that have been made to its original appearance.

This bridge is maintained in generally good condition and sustains a very moderate amount of traffic since it has been bypassed by a nearby concrete bridge.

There are no visible ruins of the Cromer's Mill complex within 800 yards of the Bridge. A 1910 map of Franklin County does indicate the presence of a mill near the Bridge. The area of the historic site will include the mill site as shown by the 1910 map.

Cromer's Mill Covered Bridge is listed as No. 10-59-01 in the "World Guide to Covered Bridges," published by the National Society for the Preservation of Covered Bridges, Inc., 1972 edition.

Cromer's Mill Covered Bridge, Carnesville Georgia Portal (1974)
Portal (1974)

Cromer's Mill Covered Bridge, Carnesville Georgia Side view (1975)
Side view (1975)