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Travelers Rest in Greenville County, South Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Poinsett Bridge

 
 
Poinsett Bridge Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott, July 5, 2005
1. Poinsett Bridge Marker
Inscription.
This bridge
on the
state road
from
Greenville to Asheville
was built
in
1820
by
Abram Landing,
Acting Commissioner,
Board of Public Works.
Joel R. Poinsett, President.

 
Erected by Nathaniel Greene Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Daughters of the American Revolution marker series.
 
Location. 35° 7.758′ N, 82° 23.046′ W. Marker is in Travelers Rest, South Carolina, in Greenville County. Marker is on Callahan Mountain Road (State Highway S23-42). Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Travelers Rest SC 29690, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 10 other markers are within 8 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. David Barton Home Site (approx. 2.7 miles away); To the Glory of God (approx. 3.9 miles away); North Greenville Baptist Academy (approx. 4.2 miles away); Tigerville (approx. 4.3 miles away); Vance-Carson Duel (approx. 5.5 miles away in North Carolina); Mush Creek Baptist Church
Poinsett Bridge and Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott, July 3, 2009
2. Poinsett Bridge and Marker
(approx. 5.7 miles away); Mountain View School (approx. 6.9 miles away); Campbell’s Covered Bridge (approx. 7.4 miles away); a different marker also named Campbell's Covered Bridge (approx. 7.4 miles away); a different marker also named Campbell's Covered Bridge (approx. 7.5 miles away).
 
Regarding Poinsett Bridge. The oldest surviving bridge in South Carolina, completed in 1820, Poinsett Bridge is part of the original State Road from Charleston through Greenville to Asheville, North Carolina. The state road was laid out in 1817-19 by Poinsett, then director of the South Carolina Board of Public Works. The bridge is made of quarried stone and fitted together without mortar. It was an unusual design for bridges in South Carolina at the time, and especially for so remote an area. Other sources indicate the bridge may have been designed by Robert Mills, famous for designing the Washington Monument in Washington D. C.
 
Also see . . .
1. Historic American Engineering Record entry for the Poinsett Bridge. (Submitted on June 6, 2008, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.)
2. Poinsett Bridge. Constructed in 1820, the Poinsett Bridge is one of the
Poinsett Bridge image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott, July 5, 2005
3. Poinsett Bridge
The peak of the Gothic arch is almost fourteen feet high.
oldest spans extant in South Carolina. (Submitted on September 16, 2008, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.) 

3. Poinsett Bridge. Poinsett Bridge, which is named for Joel Roberts Poinsett, was built in 1820 as part of a road from Columbia, South Carolina to Saluda Mountain. (Submitted on July 25, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.) 

4. Joel Roberts Poinsett. Joel Roberts Poinsett (March 2, 1779 – December 12, 1851) was a physician, botanist and American statesman. (Submitted on July 25, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.) 

5. Robert Mills. Robert Mills (August 12, 1781 – March 3, 1855) is sometimes called the first native born American to become a professional architect, though Charles Bulfinch perhaps has a clearer claim to this honor. (Submitted on July 25, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.) 
 
Additional comments.
1. Poinsett's Bridge
The oldest bridge in South Carolina, Poinsett's Bridge was built in 1820. It was one of three native stone structures on the Old State Road, a toll road from Charleston, SC to Asheville, NC. This remaining bridge was the only one of the three which featured a Gothic arch.

Joel R. Poinsett laid up the upper end of the toll road, which included
Poinsett Bridge image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott, July 3, 2009
4. Poinsett Bridge
three bridges. He was elected to Congress during construction of the road, and it was completed under the direction of Abram Blanding.

While later serving as Ambassador to Mexico, Poinsett's keen interest in botanical specimens led him to the discovery of a showy tropical shrub, which has been named the poinsettia in his honor.

It was only one of hundreds of botanical specimens introduced in the U.S. by Poinsett while serving as the first president of the National Institute for the Promotion of Science, forerunner of The Smithsonian Institute. (Source: Visit 3 Centuries of Bridges...in 90 Minutes, brochure published by Discover Upcountry Association.)
    — Submitted November 9, 2008, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.

2. Poinsett Bridge - National Register Nomination Form (1970)
A massive stone bridge with pointed arches of rough wedge-shaped blocks under which runs Gap Creek, a mountain stream. Constructed without concrete in 1820, the date inscribed on its keystone, the bridge was part of an old State Road from Charleston to North Carolina.

The Carolina Foothills Garden Club of Greenville, South Carolina, is restoring the bridge and immediately surrounding area. About one-half mile of the original roadbed has been cleared. – half
Poinsett Bridge Arch image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott, July 3, 2009
5. Poinsett Bridge Arch
of it for parking area adjacent to the bridge. Underbrush obscuring the bridge’s western face has been removed; road bed on bridge has been filled to approximately its former grade to protect arches from damaging water seepage. Poinsett Spring nearby has been cleared. Noted for its abundance of wildflowers, the area around the bridge is planned to be a Wildlife Park with nature trails and additional plantings to prevent erosion.

Significance
Constructed in 1820, the bridge is one of the oldest spans extant in South Carolina. Impressive construction of wedge-shaped rocks, erected without concrete, has pointed Gothic arches that are rate in the state today. Part of the State Road from Charleston through Columbia to North Carolina designed in 1817-1819 by Joel Poinsett, director of the South Carolina Board of Public Works. The bridge was named in his honor. Poinsett was also secretary of war, minister to Mexico, and first president of the National Institute for the Promotion of Science, forerunner of the Smithsonian Institute. Since he was elected to Congress in 1820, the road (1829) and possibly the bridge were completed under the supervision of Abram Blanding, acting commissioner of the board. According to local legend, the bridge was built with the help of Indians living in the area.

Tulane University Library has a brush drawing by Robert Mills of a
Poinsett Bridge Arch image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott, July 3, 2009
6. Poinsett Bridge Arch
bridge with Gothic arches and a keystone identical to those of the Poinsett Bridge, which lends credence to the popular belief that Mills designed the bridge. In 1820 Mills became State Architect and Engineer for the South Carolina Board of Public Works.
    — Submitted July 25, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.

3. Joel Robert Poinsett
It's widely known that Joel Poinsett was the first ambassador to Mexico, a position he held for five years, but he also served as the first consul-general of the United States to Buenos Aries, Argentina, and Santiago, Chile. He studied medicine and law, and not surprisingly was extremely well traveled, but he also had interests in natural history, science, and politics.

While serving in the South Carolina legislature, Poinsett was appointed president of the board of public works from 1819 to 1821, a position that had him overseeing construction of the state road that traversed Saluda Mountain. This road (modern-day S.C. Secondary Road 42) ran from Charleston, through Columbia, and into North Carolina, creating a seamless connector capable of accommodating even the "heaviest load," in places of several ineffective roads already in existence. Not surprisingly, more than twenty years later, he would join Vardry McBee and others
Under the Poinsett Bridge image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott, November 1, 2007
7. Under the Poinsett Bridge
to support connecting Columbia and Greenville by rail. (Source: G: The Magazine of Greenville, Jan/Feb 09, pg 68.)
    — Submitted July 25, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.

4. Joel Roberts Poinsett (1779 - 1851)
Joel Roberts Poinsett, a Representative from South Carolina; born in Charleston, S.C., March 2, 1779; spent his early childhood in England; returned to America in 1788; attended private school at Greenfield Hill, Conn., and later in Wandsworth, near London, England; studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and attended the military school in Woolwich, England; returned to Charleston, S.C., in 1800; studied law for a few months; traveled extensively in Europe from 1801 to 1809, returning to the United States for short intervals; sent to South America by President Madison in 1809 to investigate the prospects of the revolutionists there in their struggle for independence from Spain; returned to Charleston, S.C., in 1816; member of the state house of representatives 1816-1819; served as president of the board of public works; declined the offer of commissioner to South America by President Monroe; elected as a Republican to the Seventeenth Congress reelected as a Jackson Republican to the Eighteenth Congress, and elected as a Jacksonian
Poinsett Bridge image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott, July 5, 2005
8. Poinsett Bridge
to the Nineteenth Congress and served from March 4, 1821, to March 7, 1825, when he resigned to enter the diplomatic service; Minister to Mexico 1825-1829; member of the state house of representatives, 1830-1831; Secretary of War in the Cabinet of President Van Buren 1837-1841; died near what is now Statesburg, Sumter County, S.C., December 12, 1851; interment in the Church of the Holy Cross (Episcopal) Cemetery. (Source: Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress.)
    — Submitted December 15, 2011, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.

 
Categories. Bridges & Viaducts
 
Poinsett Bridge Wall and Path image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott, July 3, 2009
9. Poinsett Bridge Wall and Path
Joel Roberts Poinsett (1779–1851) image. Click for full size.
Wikipedia
10. Joel Roberts Poinsett (1779–1851)
United States Special Agent to Latin American Counties
1810-1814
South Carolina General Assembly 1816-1820
South Carolina Board of Public Works 1818-1820
United States House of Representatives from South Carolina 1821-1825
Special United States Envoy to Mexico 1822-1823
United States Ambassador to Mexico 1825-1830
South Carolina General Assembly 1830-1833
United States Secretary of War 1837–1841
 
 
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