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People don’t often think about bridges as a part of our
history but in a county with so many streams, creeks and rivers they play a
vital role in development.

Before the earliest settlers arrived in western North
Carolina the ability to ford rivers and streams effected the location of
pathways.  Commerce centers and
settlements grew around the easiest spots to cross waterways. 

Early Transylvania Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions
(predecessor to the County Commissioners) minutes refer to public bridges on
the French Broad River at Island Ford, Little River (also known as Shuford’s
Bridge) and Patton’s Bridge (Everett Rd). 
In January 1873 there is reference of constructing a new bridge near
Ethan Wilson’s (Greenville Hwy). 

An entry in the September 1866 Court Minutes states, $50
from the Bridge Tax will be used to settle an account with George Clayton for
constructing the County Courthouse.  The
Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions set the rate for the Bridge Tax and
authorized the use of this fund.  In 1874
the Bridge Tax was 14¢ on $100 worth of property.

The earliest known map of Transylvania County is an 1868
survey map certified by Chas. Patton, Richard Whitmire, George Clayton, Lambert
Neill and John Owen.  This map identified
five bridges along the French Broad River. 
They were Shuford’s, Patton’s, a bridge near present day Barclay Road,
Dunn’s Rock (north of the intersection of Island Ford Rd and Hwy 276) and
Island Ford.

Ila Israel
and a friend on Rosman’s Old Iron Bridge.

An early 1900s photograph of Rosman shows a wooden bridge
crossing the French Broad River.  Around
1930 that bridge was replaced with an iron bridge on Hwy 178.  The current bridge, built in 1978, is
slightly south of the old one-lane iron bridge.

in 1921 the State of North Carolina took over responsibility of highways and roads, and therefore bridges.   Some roads, streets and bridges in cities
and towns are maintained by the municipalities but there is no county roads
North Carolina. 

plaque on the King’s Creek Bridge

constructed during the first year that the state 

took over building and maintenance of roads and bridges.

the 1920s several concrete and steel bridges where constructed along Transylvania’s
State Roads.  Normally they had
recessed panels and a molded cap, with solid side walls and contained a bronze
plaque with the bridge name, construction date and project number.  Most of these bridges have been replaced by
wider, modern bridges.

Photographs and information for this column are provided by the Rowell
Bosse North Carolina Room, Transylvania County Library.  Visit the NC Room during regular library
hours (Monday-Friday) to learn more about our history and see additional
photographs.  For more information,
comments or suggestions contact Marcy at [email protected]
or 828-884-3151 X242.

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(828) 884-3151

212 S Gaston St, Brevard, NC 28712