One major landmark in Southwest Alabama that I’ve heard about on and off for years is McGowin Bridge, which rests over the Conecuh River on the Escambia-Covington County line, between East Brewton and Andalusia. Despite the fact that I’d heard so much about this bridge over the years, I couldn’t honestly say that I’d ever been there, which is why I added a trip to this bridge to my bucket list several years ago. I finally took the time to visit this location on Sunday, and it was nothing like I expected.
Google Maps told me that McGowin Bridge was located about 18 miles east of East Brewton on State Highway 29, and it took me about an hour to drive there on Sunday. In my mind, I had a mental picture of McGowin Bridge as an old-fashioned, wrought iron truss-style bridge like the one over the Sepulga River at Bull Slough in Conecuh County. Instead, I was surprised to see that McGowin Bridge is actually a modern concrete bridge.
I got out for a few minutes, looked around along the right of way and snapped a few pictures before heading back home. I wouldn’t say that I was disappointed by McGowin Bridge, but I was surprised that it looked a lot different that what I expected. In any case, I left more enlightened.
There is a dirt road that passes along the north side of the bridge that will take you to a sandbar on that side of the bridge. It also looks like you can travel down that road, park and walk along side the bridge and down to the river. However, I don’t know if it’s a good idea to travel this road because it may be on private property, and you don’t want to get in trouble for trespassing.
I most often hear about McGowin Bridge from people who fish or float the Conecuh River. Many will put in far north of this bridge and float down to it, where they’ll leave a vehicle parked at the end of their trip. I might even try this myself some day.
I’ve also heard people say that the bridge got its name from the McGowin Cemetery, which is located somewhere near the bridge. I’m guessing that this cemetery was named after a family that once lived in the community. I’ve also heard that this area was a major location for Confederate enlistments during the War Between the States.
Despite my best efforts to dig up some history about this bridge and community, my efforts were met with few results. If anyone out there in the audience knows anything about the history of this bridge or community, I’d be glad to hear it. I can tell you there isn’t a whole lot about it online.
In the end, how many of you have ever visited McGowin Bridge? What did you think about it? Do you know anything about the bridge’s history? Let us know in the comments section below.