historical information Prather bridge

historical information
Prather bridge
                                                                                                                                                                    Photo Credit Ken Davis

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This bridge no longer spans the Tugaloo River due to being destroyed by fire believed to have been set by vandals. The stone pillars are the only remains of this bridge. The loss of this "Historic Structure" was indeed a great loss to Stephens County, Georgia and Oconee County, South Carolina. The bridge stood downstream from the present concrete bridge, which spans the river between Georgia and South Carolina, and can be reached from Georgia by traveling GA Hwy 184 into South Carolina.

The above pictured bridge was constructed in 1920 and was the fourth bridge to be constructed at this location by the Prather family who owned the property. The first bridge was constructed in 1804 by James J. Prather (Historical sources differ on the construction of this first bridge with one stating that it was a swinging bridge and the other stating that the stone supports were used). The stone used to construct the pillars of support was cut from a quarry nearby on the Prather plantation and the timbers were also cut from this plantation. Slave labor was used in all of these task. Mr. Prather was the owner of many slaves as they were needed to perform the task required on his large plantation. The first bridge was washed away and replaced in 1850. This bridge only lasted until it also washed away or was burned, (one historical source states that the bridge was burned in 1863 during the Civil War and another source states that it washed away), and was replaced in 1868. The 1868 bridge lasted until 1920 when it also washed away and was replaced by the above pictured bridge which was destroyed by fire in 1978. [Sources: "The History of Stephens County Georgia" 1973, Library of Congress Card Number 72-82734 and "The Heritage of Stephens County" 1996, Library of Congress Card Number 96-61127].

"The Tugaloo Corridor Project" has, on it's wish list, plans to reconstruct this covered bridge sometime in the future.

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