Withlacoochee River bridges, Brooks and Lowndes Counties, 1906 and 1917

Knight Bridge and Rocky Ford Bridge appear in some century-old maps in Georgia Archives.

[Knight Bridge 1917 and remaining posts 2022]
Knight Bridge 1917 and remaining posts 2022

At the top left you can see a road going to the site of Spain Ferry.

Another road reaches the river downstream from there. Current aerial maps show that road is still there in the woods, although the path of the river seems to have shifted west somewhat at that point.

Then there’s Knight Bridge, near where Knights Ferry Boat Ramp is now.

Notice that the old road to Knight Bridge jags south before it gets to the river.

In this current map you can see that old road still there in the woods.

[Knight Bridge in WLRWT 2023]
Knight Bridge in the WWALS map of the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail (WLRWT)

That old road leads right to where you can still see old Knight Bridge posts in the river.

[Three Knight Bridge posts, 10:23:46, 30.7110377, -83.4547304]
Three Knight Bridge posts, 10:23:46, 30.7110377, -83.4547304

And at the bottom right of that 1917 map excerpt there’s Rocky Ford Bridge, where Clyattville-Nankin Boat Ramp is now.

Why is it called Rocky Ford Bridge, then? Because back in 1917, Rocky Ford Road did not dead end into Clyattvile-Nankin Road as it does now. It continued straight south to the river, to where Rocky Ford and then Rocky Ford Bridge were. The current bridge is still called Rocky Ford Bridge.

[Spain Ferry to Rocky Ford Bridge in WLRWT 2023]
Spain Ferry to Rocky Ford Bridge in the WWALS map of the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail (WLRWT)

The 1917 excerpt above is a crop from the 1917 Soil Map, Lowndes County, Georgia.

[Lowndes County Soil Survey Map 1917]
Lowndes County Soil Survey Map 1917

I don’t have a 1917 Brooks County map, but I do have one from 1906, also from Georgia Archives.

[Brooks County 1906]
Brooks County 1906

Interestingly, that Brooks County map calls it Rocky Ford Steel Bridge. This was the period when steel bridges were first being built around here.

[Knight Bridge to Rocky Bridge, Brooks County 1906]
Knight Bridge to Rocky Bridge, Brooks County 1906

The 1906 map shows a structure on Godwin Bluff, and there is a structure there now.

It also shows a bit downstream of Godwin Bluff what we’re calling River Bend Plantation Creek.

Curiously, the 1906 Brooks County map does not show a road to the river at Spain Ferry. It does show the whole area was called Spain. And the road to Forest Hills Plantation looks like it might have continued east to Spain Ferry.

[Spain, Brooks County, 1906]
Spain, Brooks County, 1906

Farther upstream, near the old Valdosta-Quitman hightway, where Spook Bridge now is, the 1906 Brooks County map shows “BLUE SPRINGS” with a Depot, Hotel, and Spring inland.

The inland Spring is Wade Spring. Yes, it had its own train depot because its owner built a railroad to bring people to the resort hotel he built.

Interestingly, the map shows the road zigging to the north so that the spring was on the south side of the road. Nowadays, the spring, its pond enclosure, and what little trickle it has, are on the north side of the road.

[Wade Spring, Brooks County, 1906]
Wade Spring, Brooks County, 1906

The map also has a pointer to a “Sulpher Spring” in the river. It looks like it’s pointing to the left (east) bank. I always thought it was on the right bank, but maybe that’s why I haven’t found it.

Farther upstream, the 1917 Lowndes County map shows the area of Troupville, but not in enough detail to tell much of anything. It does look like St. Augustine Road was in pretty much the same place then as now. And it looks like the Withlacoochee River did not go as far south before the Little River joined it.

[Troupville 1917]
Troupville 1917

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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