BETHEL – The Clarkson Covered Bridge, or sometimes called Legg Bridge, was built over Crooked Creek back in 1904. The property it was on was owned by a local mail carrier by the name of James W. Legg. The total cost of the bridge at the time was $1,500.00. The bridge was originally named the Legg Covered Bridge after the landowner because he saw the need for transportation improvement in the area, so he supplied much of the materials.
In 1931 a flood destroyed half of the bridge. Luckily most of the pieces were recovered downstream, and the bridge was able to be rebuilt the following year. It was reconstructed with help from a contractor hired by Cullman County. Ironically, it cost of $1,500.00, the same amount it cost to build originally.
The covered bridge remained in service to motorized vehicles until 1962, when it was bypassed by a nearby concrete bridge. In 1975, the Clarkson–Legg Covered Bridge was restored by the Cullman County Commission as part of the American Bicentennial Project. The rest of the project added a gristmill and log cabin, which is located at what is now called Clarkson Covered Bridge Park. Nowadays, a number of festivals and activities are held at the park, including an annual event hosted by the county called Old-Fashioned Days.
Before the bridge was even thought of, skirmishes took place at Crooked Creek and Hog Mountain as part of the American Civil War on April 30, 1863. The activity took place in the same vicinity Clarkson Covered Bridge now stands. The skirmishes were part of a series of engagements that had taken place throughout Cullman County. On that day, a group of men led by Union Army Colonel Abel Streight were being pursued by forces led by Confederate Army General Nathan Bedford Forrest. The predicament was the result of a failed attempt by Colonel Streight's group to cut off the Western & Atlantic Railroad in Middle Tennessee, which was supplying Confederate Army forces commanded by General Braxton Bragg. This was later known as Streight's Raid.
A historical marker stands in front of the bridge that reads as follows:
“The Clarkson Covered Bridge – Sometimes Called Legg Bridge – This 270 food bridge was constructed in 1904, destroyed by a flood in 1921 and rebuilt the following year. The only remaining covered bridge in Cullman County, it was restored by the Cullman County Commission in 1975 as an American Revolution Bicentennial project. Named to National Register of Historic Places on 6-25-74.”
Clarkson Covered Bridge Park is located at1240 County Road 1043, Cullman, AL, 35057. For more information about the bridge, visit their webpage at www.cullmancountyparks.com/clarkson.html and keep up with them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003361391019
Sharon Schuler Kreps may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.