In a city that has become so radically transformed in recent years as Greenville, there aren’t as many visual architectural cues to the regions rich past as there are in towns that haven’t gone through such a drastic revitalization. Taking a day to tour a few of the more scenic bridges of Greenville and Upstate region of South Carolina is a great way to take time out and see these architectural representations of the historical realities and values of the region. More modern bridges in the area showcase the radically different realities and capabilities that the region now holds as promise technological and social progress into the future.
Campbell Covered Bridge
Located in nearby Gowensville, South Carolina, Campbell Covered Bridge is the last remaining covered bridge in the state. Built in 1909, it is a rusty red, barn shaped bridge that looks like something straight of a story book. It was built out of pine by Charles Irwin Willis so that Pleasant Hill Road might cross Beaverdam Creek. Willis owned a considerable parcel of property in the area at the time. Campbell Covered Bridge is no longer used for automobile traffic but is still open to pedestrians during daylight hours. Restoration efforts made during the 1960’s were followed up recently as an Eagle Scout project by a scout of Troop 282. Plans are in place to eventually transform the area into a 20 acre historic park.
Poinsett Bridge is the oldest standing bridge in South Carolina, having been erected in 1820 by the state Board of Public Works under the direction of Joel R. Poinsett. This is the same Poinsett who is responsible for introducing the poinsetta to the United States. Poinsett Bridge is a stone arch bridge, relying on the structural integrity of striking Gothic arch to cross Little Gap Creek. This arch itself is but a small portion of the bridge, which is mostly stacked stone. It originally served as a gateway from Columbia to Saluda but is now only open to pedestrians. Poinsett Bridge is located off of US 25 just north of Greenville.
Located at Falls Park in Downtown Greenville, this pedestrian suspension bridge spans the link of the scenic Reedy River falls as well as the park grounds itself. Something of a miniature engineering marvel, this is the only cantilevered suspension bridge that is designed for pedestrians in the entire United States. Construction for bridge topped $4.5 million when it was built over the course of twelve months based on the designs of Boston architect Miguel Rosales and engineer Schlaich Bergermann. Liberty Bridge was dedicated and opened to public in late 2004. Vertigo is not hard to come by when looking down from Liberty Bridge, as the movement of the pedestrians crossing by makes the bridge sway quite noticeably. As the park authority puts it, the bridge is the focal point of the park and “showcases man’s creativity alongside nature’s beauty.”