Summertime for my family and friends, as with most, has always been a favorite time of year. It means no more cold days, no school (if you’re lucky) or co-op classes, and going barefoot outside. It means eating salty watermelon, churning homemade ice cream on the front porch, and watching lightning bugs light up the night. It also means picnics, nature walks, and swimming.
Every year, as soon as it warms up enough (or sometimes before!), we’ve loaded up in the car or the back of the pickup and driven down the road a few miles to our favorite swimming hole, a spot in Crooked Creek which is a stream that runs through the Bethel and West Point areas (of Cullman County), part of it which is in the pasture in front of where I used to live.
This particular swimming spot is near Bethel and is located under the second-longest covered bridge in the state of Alabama, one of the longest in the whole U.S.
This historical landmark is formally called Clarkson-Legg Covered Bridge, but the frequent visitors usually just call it “The Bridge.”
Clarkson-Legg Covered Bridge was first built in 1904 because it was realized that the transportation needed improved in the area. James W. Legg, a mail carrier for Clarkson Post Office, owned the property the bridge now stands on, and donated all supplies–timber, nails, sand, and rock. The bridge was built at a cost of $1,500. For real.
Just an interesting little tidbit of history about the location: In 1863 on April 30th, there were some Civil War skirmishes that occurred at Crooked Creek and Hog Mountain, where the bridge now stands.
Sadly, half of the 270-foot bridge was destroyed by a flood in 1921. Most of the pieces were found downstream and it was reconstructed the following year for another $1,500.
All motor traffic stopped in 1962 when a new concrete bypass bridge was built beside it.
In 1975, the Cullman Commission had the Clarkson-Legg bridge restored once more, as an American Bicentennial Project, along with the gristmill and log cabin on site.
Now, 40 years later, the bridge is currently being re-done and restored, and is hoped to be completed and good as new within the next few weeks (mid-February 2015)!
After growing up loving this place, I recently grew to love it even more. Back in 2013 I began dating a wonderful young man from Tennessee. Oftentimes when he would come to Alabama for a visit we would go to the bridge to sit by the creek and have a picnic or walk the trails. One day last May as we walked inside the covered bridge, he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him! We are now happily married and living in Huntsville, but we look forward to stopping by the bridge after its completion whenever we are back in the area to visit with family.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading, and maybe even learned a little something new about this beautiful place. And if you haven’t been there before, it’s definitely worth a look-see! It may become one of your favorite places too!
Do you have any special memories that took place at Clarkson-Legg Covered Bridge?
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10)