More old bridge history from Ken Sulak, retired from USGS: Ellaville County Bridge, the ferry before that, the log boom, and Hillman Bridge, plus the Ellaville Gauge turns out to be one of the oldest, all on the Suwannee River near the Withlacoochee River Confluence.
You can see these sights on the WWALS paddle, Allen Ramp to SRSP, Withlacoochee River, 2023-02-04.
The Ellaville ‘County Bridge’ over the Suwannee was built in 1908. The ‘County Bridge’ was parallel to and just upstream of the RR trestle.
The County Bridge did rest upon massive concrete abutments atop either bank, but then also several pairs of lally columns. The south shore abutment still stands, right next to the USGS gauge house.
I wish I could locate the early gauge station data.
The fact that the gauge station is right next to the old bridge site tells me that the gauge station was put in place also in 1908. It was left there but rebuild in the 1925 when the Hillman Bridge was built further downstream—still standing.
The Hillman Bridge was built in 1925-1926, replacing the County Bridge.
Besides the big 1928 flood, there was an earlier record flood in 1911—but I have no newspaper reports about it. So, I have been hoping to obtain the early USGS gauge data. I inquired at USGS headquarters in Reston, VA, but all of the old librarians and archivists have retired. No one seems to know now where the early gauge and manual river level measurements data are stored—pre 1925. The Ellaville and the White Springs gauges were the first two put in place. However, private individuals were enlisted to monitor physical marked gauge sticks planted into the river at other places—early on.
On this 1954 aerial:
The road approaching the County Bridge is Old Stagecoach Road. The other little track meandering down to the river, next to the County Bridge, is the old ferry landing approach.
The County Bridge rested upon concrete abutments and lally column supports, but there were also some tall timber pilings on the Madison County (north to the left) side. A few of these very tall timber pilings still remain submerged in the river next to the base of the old County Bridge. Used to be about 8 of these in the mid-1990s. At least 2 remain and can be seen easily at very low water—like now.
All these points are on the WWALS SRWT map:
-jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®