Red Oak Covered Bridge
The main covered part of the
bridge is reached from the
east by a long open span, a
style popular in the South. - Red Oak Creek Covered Bridge, Georgia
Red Oak Creek Covered Bridge
Built by the famed Georgia bridge builder Horace
King, with its approaches the Red Oak Covered
Bridge is the longest in Georgia.
Red Oak Creek
The design and construction
of the bridge was so solid that
it remains in use today as an
important crossing for people
living along Red Oak Creek.
Wooden Pegs
Because iron was often in
short supply in the Old South,
the slaves that built the Red
Oak Creek Covered Bridge
used wooden pegs to fasten
the heavy beams together.
Red Oak Covered Bridge
The charming old "kissing
bridge" is located in a
beautiful setting in the small
community of Imlac, Georgia.
Red Oak Creek Covered Bridge - Woodbury, Georgia
A Surviving Horace King Bridge
The Red Oak Creek Covered Bridge,
sometimes called the Imlac Covered Bridge,
spans Red Oak Creek in the small
community of Imlac not far from Woodbury,

Only 12 miles north of
Warm Springs, the old
bridge is a rare surviving example of the
ingenuity of famed bridge builder Horace
King. Including approaches, it stretches for
391 feet, making it the longest wooden
bridge in Georgia. The main span is 253 feet
long and is the state's oldest covered bridge.

Born into slavery in South Carolina in 1807,
Horace King was either set free or bought his
freedom from contractor John Godwin, who
encouraged and mentored King after it
became evident that he possessed an
intellect for engineering that can only be
described as genius. To allow King greater
rights to move about as needed and to own
property, the Alabama Legislature passed a
special act granting him full freedom in the
eyes of the law.

On his own, he supervised crews of slaves
that built bridges across Georgia, Alabama
and Mississippi. This was a remarkable
achievement for a freed slave of African
American and Catawba Indian descent
during the antebellum days of slavery in the
Deep South. Among his projects were a
number of bridges, including the long spans
over the Chattahoochee River destroyed by
Union troops during the
Battle of Columbus.

Horace King also designed the spiral
staircase in the State Capitol Building in
Montgomery, Alabama. The sweeping
staircase is an architectural wonder, but King
was best known for his bridges. And there is
no disputing the statement that he was a
master builder of covered bridges. At one
time much of the Deep South moved on
bridges built by Horace King.

Of all the bridges he built, however, only one
remains in use today, the Red Oak Creek
Covered Bridge in Meriwether County,

Designed and built by King and possibly his
sons during the 1840s using the Town
Lattice Truss design, the covered bridge has
spanned Red Oak Creek for more than 170
years. It was repaired during the 1980s and
still carries cars and small trucks over the
creek today.

The Town Lattice Truss design allowed the
building of long wooden spans like the Red
Oak Creek Creek Covered Bridge by using
criss-crossed beams that looked much like a
modern garden lattice. This design created
bridge trusses of great strength by
distributing weight across multiple timbers.
According to the Georgia Department of
Transportation, the main covered section of
the bridge is slightly shorter than that of the
Watson Mill Covered Bridge at Watson Mill
Bridge State Park. With the addition of its
wood approach, however, the Red Oak Creek
bridge is the longest wooden bridge in the
state. DOT also indicates that the central
span of the bridge, which measures 115 feet,
is thought to be the longest unsupported
span of any wooden bridge in the state.

The Red Oak Creek Covered Bridge is used
by light traffic daily, but Meriwether County
has built a pull off area at the western end of
the bridge so visitors can enjoy the beautiful
historic structure and also read the historical
marker detailing its history.

To reach the bridge from Warm Springs,
travel north on Alternate Highway 85 and
Highway 85 for roughly 12 miles until you see
a highway sign for the Imlac community. Turn
right on Covered Bridge Road, cross the
railroad tracks, then continue straight until
you reach the bridge. You will pass through
Woodbury just before you reach Imlac.

Be sure to click here to visit the Georgia
Department of Transportation's well done
website on the covered bridges of Georgia.
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Copyright 2011 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.