Pool's Mill Covered Bridge, Cumming Georgia

Date added: February 12, 2024 Categories: Georgia Covered Bridges Town Lattice Truss
Portal view of bridge looking north (1974)

The Pool's Mill Covered Bridge was constructed in 1900-01 to replace an earlier bridge which was washed away by a flash flood on Settendown Creek. B. L. Fowler, who was then operating the nearby mill for Dr. M. L. Pool, the owner, contracted with John Wofford, a local millwright, to build a Town Lattice bridge at the site. The lumber for the bridge was of heart poplar and sawn on the premises by Fowler. Wofford planned to use 2 x 6 inch planks for the framing but made a mistake in boring the holes for the pins. As a result, Wofford left the job and the contract was turned over to Bud Gentry. Gentry increased the size of the planks to 2 x 10 inches and used the 2 x 6's cut by Wofford to deck the floor of the bridge. Most of the decking today is of these boards with holes erroneously bored by Wofford. The pins were turned by Will Wright who had a wood-turning lathe. The bridge was completed in 1901.

The history of the area in which this bridge is located goes back to the early 1800s when the Cherokee Indians lived there. About 1820, Chief George Welch, a Cherokee, built a water-powered grist mill nearby on Settendown Creek. This mill was a three-story structure some 40 x 60 feet in size and remained standing until 1959 when destroyed by fire. With the removal of the Cherokees, the Welch homeplace and mill were bought by Jacob Scudder. About 1880, it was sold to Dr. M. L. Pool, who moved to the area from Spartanburg, S.C., and the area became known as Pool's Mill. The mill was enlarged to include a sawmill and a flour mill. The spelling of Dr. Pool's name sometimes reflects an 'e' on the end, as does the present county map, but family descendants spell it as Pool and it is so spelled on his tombstone. Likewise, the name of Settendown Creek, as spelled by local residents and old timers based on the legend it was named for a Cherokee Indian chief, is sometimes spelled in a more proper way, Sittingdown Creek. The county maps have it spelled in the latter fashion.

The Pool's Mill Covered Bridge is one of 22 covered bridges remaining in Georgia and one of only 14 still in use. Thirteen of Georgia's remaining covered bridges are built of the Town Lattice design and the Pool'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.

Bridge Description

The Pool's Mill Covered Bridge spans Settendown Creek in the Heardville Community of Forsyth County about 11 miles northwest of Cumming, Georgia. Construction is of the Town Lattice type. The bridge is completely covered and extends 96 feet in length with one span. The bridge is 14½ feet wide overall and 17½ feet high from the bottom of the lower chord to the ridge line at the center of the roof. Vehicle clearance is 11 feet. Piers are made of native rock and held together with cement. The wood used in this structure is heart poplar sawed at nearby Pool's Mill. The timbers, which are two inches thick, are lighter than usually found in bridges of this design in Georgia. The diagonals are made of 2 x 10-inch timbers and there are two pins at each intersection. The chords are made of 2 x 12-inch timbers, doubled, with two lower chords and two upper chords. The upper chords are made of poplar, with many short boards, and they have weakened over the years and become warped. The floor sills are made of 5 x 10-inch timbers with joists of 3 x 8-inch timbers. The floor is laid crosswise and made of 2 x 6-inch timbers. Longitudinal runners made of 2 x 10-inch oak timbers are in place to provide a smoother surface for traffic. The roof is made of split oak shingles and the sides are covered for the lower eight feet with boards and batten. Originally the sides were completely covered and the roof of split wood shingles. The original roof deteriorated and was replaced with a metal roof. The 1972 renovation included a split oak shingle roof. The original appearance of this bridge is altered to this extent.

This bridge had been allowed to deteriorate badly and in 1972 was completely renovated. A new roof was put on the bridge and the old siding was removed and replaced with new siding covering the lower eight feet. Since that time no maintenance or care has been provided and today the bridge is in only a fair condition. Vandals and the weather have taken their toll. The roof and the siding need further repairing and the upper chords should be braced and straightened.

The Pool's Mill Covered Bridge is listed as No. 10-58-01 in the "World Guide to Covered Bridges," published by the National Society for the Preservation of Covered Bridges, Inc., 1965 edition.

Pool's Mill Covered Bridge, Cumming Georgia Broadside view of bridge looking southwest (1974)
Broadside view of bridge looking southwest (1974)

Pool's Mill Covered Bridge, Cumming Georgia Portal view of bridge looking north (1974)
Portal view of bridge looking north (1974)