Home Carrollton Bridge Opening on Bethesda Church Road & Memories from the Old Days

Bridge Opening on Bethesda Church Road & Memories from the Old Days

Courtesy of Carroll County Gov

Baldwin Construction’s completion of the new bridge over Indian Creek on Bethesda Church Rd is a historic event for some of the residents in the area. For those old enough to remember the way things were in times past, it is a modern marvel by comparison to the old rugged wooden bridge it was back in the 1930’s and 40’s.

92 year old Ed Walker, pictured below on the horse and wagon, remembers crossing that bridge in the 30’s. He was raised on Bethesda Church Rd in a small house with 10 brothers and sisters. Today he is one of the oldest members of the community that remembers when the roads were made of dirt, the bridges were made of wood, and mules were more reliable than a truck.

Ed says that “they built the bridge in 1928 and it was made of oak boards. I remember crossing that bridge with the mules and there were sometimes rotten spots in the wood and we had to make sure the mules didn’t step on a rotten spot, because if they fell in a hole, they might not cross the bridge again. The County patched and fixed spots where the wood was rotting out so we could get across it.”

“All the bridges were made of wood back then. We didn’t think nothing about it. That’s just the way it was. They were made out of 2X10’s & 2X12’s. Eventually, they did put down steel runners for our wagon tracks. Commissioner Horrie Duncan had the first real bridge built with cement sometime in the 50’s.”

“I remember when we traded in our buggy for a Model-T. I think we paid about $25 for it. Gas cost between .14 to .20 cents a gallon in those days. In 1935, we had to park it because we couldn’t afford the tires and tags. Cars were for rich people. Dad buried the Model-T in the swamp.”

“You had to have a wagon if you needed to go into town, and all the way to Carrollton was a long way back then. We went by way of Hays Mill Road. It was a dirt road. All these roads were dirt back in the 40’s…Or mud. Sometimes mud would be knee deep. Most of the time people just walked wherever they needed to go, but if you had a load of cotton or corn to sell, or needed supplies, you had to get to town. If you had a load of cotton, you parked in the wagon yard off the square on Saturday and waited in line to get checked.”

“In 1933, Hwy 27 was still graded and scraped with mules. Tractors and road equipment did exist, but it was common sight to see horses and mules working the roads. I can remember taking a family photo when I was kid, right there on the concrete steps, across from the Southside BP gas station. This was right after the State put down concrete and Hwy 27 became a real road!”

Ed recalled that they used oil lamps when he was little because there was no such thing as electricity in the area. You had to get the mules hitched up before daylight and you had to know how to feel your way around the barn to do it. Then in 1937, he started seeing power poles dropped off on the side of the road. This was to get electricity run to Bethesda Baptist Church. The future had finally arrived!

It is hard for us to imagine what life was like back then. We take so many conveniences for granted. Listening to the stories of the older generation reminds us how good we really have things today. Next time I drive across the new bridge I will be grateful that I don’t have to ride a mule or carry a bridge repair patch kit!

Great job Baldwin Construction crew, Larry & Mary Montgomery for providing the wagon, Mark Morris for the horses, Grant Waldrop, Carroll County Public Works, and everyone else who made this possible. Hopefully our new bridge will never have to be rebuilt in our lifetime.