Scenic USA - South Carolina

Poinsett Bridge Heritage Preserve

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Poinsett Bridge Heritage Preserve -  Travelers Rest, South Carolina

Photos by Ben Prepelka
Scenic USA Artist Website

   Mirroring the northwestern border with North Carolina, the Cherokee Foothills National Scenic Byway showcases South Carolina‘s Upcountry at the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Once land of the Cherokee, Native culture is still recognized in area names such as Jocassee, Keowee, Seneca, Toxaway, Tokeena and Eastatoe. Here, South Carolina's Heritage Trust Program works to preserve the land in its natural state, often protecting a haven for endangered plant and animal species. In a land of clear-running mountain streams, more than 120 waterfalls, eleven state parks and miles of woodland trails, sightseers and history buffs may enjoy the Poinsett Bridge Heritage Preserve, featuring South Carolina's oldest bridge.
   Designed by Joel R. Poinsett, this graceful 14 foot Gothic arch stone bridge is located near Travelers Rest in a Heritage Trust Preserve. Not far from the North Carolina border and a steep ascent into the Blue Ridge Mountains, the town of Travelers Rest gained its reputation as a stopover before the difficult journey over the Blue Wall. Sometimes referred to as the Great Blue Hills of God, 19th century travelers Little Gap Creek waterfall - Poinsett Bridge Heritage Preserve, Travelers Rest, SC would often wait weeks in town for winter snows to clear in the mountains before traveling northward.
   Built in 1820, the stone bridge was part of an original state road which linked Greenville in South Carolina to Ashville, North Carolina. Spanning Little Gap Creek, Poinsett Bridge is one of South Carolina's most significant structures. Surrounded by a 120 acre preserve, the bridge honors designer Joel R. Poinsett, once ambassador to Mexico and prominent Greenville resident. Poinsett is also recognized for introducing the poinsettia flower to America, now part of the traditions during the Christmas holiday.

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