Campbell’s Covered Bridge

Campbell’s Covered Bridge Marked a Turning Point for the Dark Corner

Campbell Covered Bridge in Fall - red covered bridge with creek running below and tin roof - trees behind the bridge have their leaves turning - lots of reds some yellow and still some green leaves.
Campbell’s Bridge Park is a great stop along any fall road trip. The fall leaves surrounding the old covered bridge make the whole scene look like something from Norman Rockwell.

Driving along Highway 11 in northwestern South Carolina, you’ll find yourself in what was once an isolated frontier region made up of sparsely populated settlements. Once referred to as the Dark Corner, today this area is one of the fastest growing regions in the state.

In the early 20th century, the residents of the Dark Corner were looked down upon by the city folks in Greenville and seen poor, uneducated, and isolated, but the people of the Dark Corner really didn’t care and remained fiercely independent. Residents of the Dark Corner were so independent that they remained Unionists during the Civil War, going as far as harboring many soldiers who deserted form the Confederate armies.

Campbell Covered Bridge from the Beaverdam Creek bed

Life in the Dark Corner Before Campbell’s Covered Bridge

Looking at maps from the time, it’s no wonder that the people of the Dark Corner were so isolated. Crisscrossed by numerous creeks and rivers, the rural communities that dotted the Dark Corner had very little contact with each other. Safe crossings were few and far between, so traveling through the region took a 25 mile round trip and a full day complete.

red wooden covered bridge with tin roof and stone foundation crossing creek
Campbell’s Covered Bridge from side

At the turn of the 20th Century, a concerted effort to connect the rural communities of northern Greenville county began. Roads were built and four bridges were constructed in hopes of connecting the region. Only one of these bridges survives today.

The Last Historic Covered Bridge in SC

Red covered bridge seen from the front and to the side
Bridge from the front with the foundation of grist mill in background

Campbell’s Covered Bridge, built by Charles Irwin Willis in 1909, is not only the last of the Dark Corner bridges still standing today, but it’s also the last historic covered bridge remaining in South Carolina.

Today we tend to romanticize covered bridges, but when people still traveled by foot, horse, or wagon covered bridges were a practical and welcome sight. The cover kept rain and snow off the bridge deck making the bridge much safer to traverse in poor weather.

After Campbell’s Covered Bridge was built, what was once an all day 25 mile ordeal could be completed in about an hour.

Half of Campbell's Covered Bridge - red covered bridge with a tin roof in fall. Brightly colored trees behind bridge under a very blue sky.
Campbell’s Covered Bridge in fall is a must see attraction in Greenville County.

Visiting Campbell’s Covered Bridge Park in Greenville SC

red wooden covered bridge over creek
Campbell’s Bridge from the front in springtime.

Today Campbell Bridge is a roadside attraction and sits as the centerpiece of a small park owned and maintained by the Greenville Parks Department. You can’t help but feel a hint of nostalgia for a time long past as you stroll across the bridge and listen to the Beaverdam Creek rustling underneath. Or make your way to the creek bed below and enjoy some wading in the gently flowing waters.

stone multilevel foundation with interpretive sign but writing is illegible stone benches nearby
The foundation of Campbell’s Grist mill near the covered bridge of the same name. Picnic tables are nearby.

As you walk to Campbell’s Covered Bridge from the parking lot, you may notice the crumbling foundation of the old grist mill once owned by Alexander Lafayette Campbell. While the mill is long gone, picnic tables sit on the remnants of the foundation. You’ll also find a short half mile nature trail looping around the park and plenty of benches if you just want to take a moment and enjoy your surroundings.

red covered bridge from further away with grass field in front and creek in background
Campbell’s Covered Bridge in early spring.

Fast Facts about Campbell’s Covered Bridge

Type:Historic Place and Roadside Attraction- Covered Bridge and Park
Location:171 Campbell’s Covered Bridge Rd, Landrum, SC 29356
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Things to do at Campbell’s Covered Bridge: Picnic tables, short nature trail, dog walking, creek bed is accessible for wading just watch out for snakes.

Map to Campbell’s Covered Bridge