Skip to main content

Poinsett's Bridge


Hidden within the mountains of South Carolina's Upstate Region is one of the most majestic stone arch bridges you will ever see.  The Poinsett's Bridge was built in 1820 as part of what was then known as the State Road.  The State Road was a toll road that ran from Charleston through Columbia and into North Carolina.  Poinsett's Bridge was one of three stone bridge built along the route in which this particular segment was also known as the Saluda Mountain Road. (1)

The bridge is considered the oldest surviving bridge in the state - some speculate the entire southeast - and rises 24 feet over Little Gap Creek. The bridge's length is 130 feet. The most noteworthy feature of this bridge is the 15' high x 7' wide Gothic arch that bridges over the creek.  The stepped parapet side walls are also a distinguishing feature.

Poinsett Bridge is named after Joel R. Poinsett - who served as the Director of the South Carolina Board of Public Works at the time.  Poinsett was a very prominent South Carolinian who also served as the first US Ambassador to Mexico.  However, he is most famous for being the individual who introduced the poinsettia to the United States.

The bridge is believed to have been designed by Robert Mills who also designed the Washington Monument. But it is unknown if he did in fact design it as he joined the SC Board of Public Works in December 1820 - and was living in Baltimore throughout that year. (1)

The two other stone bridges that were built as part of the State/Saluda Mountain Road included a 60 foot length bridge over the North Saluda River.  This bridge contained two elliptical arches and rose about 15 feet above the water.  The third bridge was a 50 foot singular circular arch bridge that crossed over Hodge Creek.  It rose 12.5' above the water. (1) The two sister bridges were destroyed in the 1950s during the construction of the North Saluda Reservoir.

Directions:
  • From SC 11 -  Turn Right onto Old SC 11. Follow Old 11 to Callahan Mountain Road.  Turn right onto Callahan Mountain Road.  Follow brown signs for Poinsett Bridge Heritage Preserve to bridge - there is a parking lot near bridge site.
  • From US 25 North (Greenville) - Take US 25 North to Old US 25 and exit right.  Follow Old US 25 to Callahan Mountain Road. Turn Right onto Callahan Mountain Road.  Follow brown signs for Poinsett Bridge Heritage Preserve to bridge - there is a parking lot near bridge site.
Sources & Links:
All photos taken by author August 2007.









Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The story on how the unbuilt US 40 Expressway in Brownsville took 40 years to complete.

For nearly four decades, the four lane US 40 just east of Brownsville came to an abrupt end - shown in the photo above - at Grindstone Road in Redstone Township.   In the late 1960s, what was then the Pennsylvania Division of Highways (PennDOH) extended a new four lane alignment of US 40 eastwards from Broadway Street slightly over one mile to Grindstone Road where an incomplete diamond interchange was built.  Earlier in the decade, PennDOH had built a four lane US 40 in Washington County into Brownsville complete with a new crossing over the Monongahela River known as the Lane Bane Bridge.  This new highway and bridge allowed US 40 to bypass the older Intercounty Bridge and downtown Brownsville. 

After this new highway opened, nothing would happen to it for nearly forty years.  US 40 traffic would use the ramps for this planned diamond interchange and then jog on Grindstone Road briefly before continuing towards Uniontown on the original National Road. 
What is unknown (at least to…

The story of the Boy Scout Ramps on Interstate 79 North in NW Pennsylvania

If you are traveling on Interstate 79 North of Pittsburgh, you may notice the remnants of a set of off and on ramps at mile 100 just north of Exit 99 (US 422).  There's a story behind these ramps.  Forty years ago, these ramps were built specifically for two Boy Scout Jamboree's that were held at Moraine State Park - 1973 and 1977.  The ramps purpose were to provide access to the north shore of Lake Arthur where the bulk of the festivities and campsite for the Jamboree were located.  (Lawrence County Memories has a great write up and map of the festivities on its site.)

Not long after the Jamboree ended the ramps were abandoned.  There are still remnants of the Boy Scout Ramps today.



Above: Sattelite view of the Boy Scout Jamboree Ramps. 
Below: A view of the ramps from I-79 South.



The google street view image above gives a view along West Park Road of where the set of ramps intersected the highway.  The ramps provided direct access to North Shore Drive (which is the right tur…

The few clues of the Northern Durham Parkway

Sometimes when you look through a box of maps for the first time in five years, you come across something you may have easily over looked.  Such was the case when I found a 2004 (so rather recent) map of Raleigh.  This map was made by the Dolph Map Company for WakeMed.  In the Northwestern corner of Wake County, there were two items to the map showing roads that are still not in existence 13 years later.

The road is the Northern Durham Parkway - this is a proposed 19 mile highway from US 501 north of Durham to the Raleigh-Durham International Airport.  The first proposals for this highway date back to 1967 when Eno Drive-Gorman Road was listed on the Durham Area Thoroughfare Plan. (1)  Other proposals called the highway the Northwest and Northeast Durham Loop. (2)  The route would serve as a northern and eastern bypass of Durham almost serving as a near loop.  The route was fought vigorously for three decades by the Eno River Association citing concerns for the the Eno River, nearby n…