After the turn of the century, things were different. The old grist mill ceased to exist and the "community" around the old covered bridge also disappeared. The area had finally caught up with the "industrial age.
In 1905, a new rock masonry dam replaced the old dam, a hydroelectric power plant was built about 300 yards from the new dam, and a 300 yard long raceway (a manmade canal to move water from one point to another) was constructed to supply the new hydroelectric power plant with water for power generation. At the end of the raceway sat the powerhouse. Water in the raceway would enter the penstock (a pipe which carries water to a water wheel or turbine) and the force of the water going through it would turn the power generator. The powerhouse was owned by Jefferson Mills (a textile mill) and the sole purpose of this powerhouse was to supply electrical power for the mill site in Crawford - about 10 miles away.
By the mid 1900s, it was common for the rural areas to have plenty of electricity and the old powerhouse had become obsolete. So it was decided to close down the powerhouse. It was easier to get power from a public utility rather than maintaining the old powerhouse and the 10 miles of power line running from the powerhouse to the mill site in Crawford. The copper wiring and metal making up the generating equipment in the powerhouse was sold for scrap.
A couple of decades went by and then came the move to turn the area over to the park service and the covered bridge became the focal point of Watson Mill Bridge State Park.
© 2014 - Georgia Department of Natural Resources