The Landscape of a Forgotten Bridge

In 1908 a wooden covered bridge was built over the Tallapoosa River in Daviston, Alabama. The bridge replaced a ferry that had been used by the local community to cross the river in the area. W.H. Wynn and his son built the bridge that stretched just over 850 feet from the south to the north bank. Five pilings were created with rock from the north riverbank and concrete to support the bridge. These pilings are all that remain of the Miller Bridge today.

Images of the bridge when it was at the height of its use tells a much different story than what can be seen from the same location today. One image in particular taken from the south bank of the river with a perspective of a lower elevation looking up at the bridge. This angle and perspective give a sense of how incredibly long the completely wooden covered bridge was. In the photo waves in the wood are visible where the bridge had changed shape over time and the weight of the bridge and its travelers had caused the bridge to sink just a few inches in certain spots.

The town of New Site, several miles from the north side of the Tallapoosa River, received a significant boost as it became better connected to the larger city of Dadeville on the south side of the river. The Miller Bridge offered a more reliable and quicker way to cross than the ferries that had been used to cross the river.

Just as an increase of travelers and the size of their transportation increased the Miller Bridge was replaced by a modern bridge of concrete and steel in 1955. When looking at the modern bridge today, it does not have the same dips and waves that developed in the Miller Bridge over time. It is has taken the sixty-two years of use with much less damage than the covered bridge did during its time. The road that had connected to both sides of the Miller Bridge has been reclaimed by the trees and natural growth. This gives the impression that the road was almost certainly a dirt road that could readily disappear with little trace. The two-lane highway forty-nine that is now connected to the modern bridge would take many years to erode without human intervention before it was unable to be seen. Looking at the place of where the Miller Bridge once stood, and the modern bridge is still in use illustrates a change in the area. The jarring noise of cars passing over the bridge as you stand where the Miller Bridge stood to serve as a reminder of the change in the type of vehicles that used these roads. It illustrates the changes in the number of people that used this road. With the creation of Horseshoe Bend National Military Park, it would have been impossible for the heavy machinery required to construct the park to cross the covered bridge.

While they could have traveled a different way, and come into the park from the north, the number of visitors would surely have, but too much stress on the already aging Miller Bridge. Today it is nearly impossible to visit the bridge and not be interrupted by the noise of logging trucks cross the Tallapoosa River. These increase in industry and tourist traffic of the national park leave visitors with a feeling of a much more modern urban area than the rural landscape that Miller Bridge impresses through photos.

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