According to South Carolina: A Day at a Time, Campbell’s Covered Bridge is “the only covered bridge still standing in South Carolina.” My friend Duckhunter pointed me toward DiscoverSouthCarolina.com which says that Campbell’s “is South Carolina’s only remaining covered bridge.” Several other websites repeat this sentiment. So, imagine my surprise when I found this just around the corner from one of my schools…
Certainly looks like a covered bridge to me. Looks like a very old one, and it certainly looks like it’s still standing. So what’s the deal?? Why does Campbell’s get such special treatment?
I came across this bridge in a round about way. I was out visiting our schools and had to get from Lyman Elementary School to Abner Creek Elementary, both at opposite ends of the district. I knew the fastest way to get there, but I wanted to see what the GPS said. I was going to follow it, no matter what, as long as it didn’t drop me in Outer Mongolia.
So it came to be that I found myself on Mayfield Road, on the south side of I-85 across from BMW. The road dipped down toward a bridge over a tributary of Abner Creek, and there on the left was the bridge.
At first I wondered if it was authentic. If not, then someone took a lot of time to use old materials and make it look authentic.
When I got to Abner Creek Elementary I asked around and nobody had heard of the bridge. I drove back that way, but someone was running a backhoe in a pasture right next to the bridge. Not a good time to stop.
I asked around my office, but know one knew about the bridge. I e-mailed Fredrick Tucker who had written a book about the history of Duncan, but he hadn’t heard of the bridge either. Now I was really getting puzzled.
When I left the office for the day I drove back to Mayfield Road, this time with my camera out and taking it slow enough to get some shots. Just on the other side of the bridge a truck was pulled off to the right and two men were working on a fence. I pulled over and asked about the bridge. The older of the two, who looked to be in his sixties, said that the bridge had been there ever since he could remember, and he had lived in the area all his life.
That was enough for me. That confirmed that this is an old covered bridge. I guess the only reason it hasn’t received the same attention as Campbell’s is because it’s on private land. Even so, Campbell’s can no longer claim the title “last standing covered bridge in South Carolina.” Makes me wonder how many more are out there.