Kymulga Mill and Covered Bridge are two locally owned historic landmarks
located at Kymulga Park in
Childersburg, Alabama. The park is on Grist
Mill Road (County Road 46) off State Route 76 about 4 miles northeast
of Childersburg. The mill and bridge are the only pair of such structures
in Alabama still standing together in their original location.
Kymulga Mill is a working gristmill built in 1864 by German contractor G. E. Morris for Confederate Army Captain William H. Forney. Captain Forney died before construction was completed, but his wife allowed Morris to finish it. Union Army soldiers burned most of the gristmills throughout the area during the Civil War, but Kymulga Mill was missed.
The 105-foot bridge is a Howe truss wood and metal combination style covered bridge that spans Talladega Creek. The bridge once provided access to the Old Georgia Road, a Native American trade route used by settlers and frontiersmen who ventured the area. Eventually, farms and communities spawned along the former trail. The United States government purchased land adjacent to Kymulga Mill in 1941 for the Alabama Ordnance Works, a military installation. Settlements within the tract had to be relocated.
Both structures were restored in 1974 and were listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 29, 1976. The Childersburg Heritage Committee purchased the tract in 1988, and with help from the Alabama Historical Commission and the Talladega County Commission, established Kymulga Park. More structural renovations were made as well. There is an admission charge to visit the park, with proceeds being used for upkeep of all structures and nature trails within this historic recreation area.
The mill was sold four times before being purchased by the Childersburg Heritage Committee from latest owner Edward Donahoo in 1988, though it remained in active service through many of those years.
Today, the Kymulga Covered Bridge leads park visitors to a series of nature trails north of Talladega Creek. People may still find remnants of the Old Georgia Road, as well as other traces of the past.
There are new efforts underway to totally restore the mill. I was told that once the upgrade is completed, they will be able to provide student tours of the facility. While I was there during my last visit, a structural engineer was appraising to building to determine what had to be done.
Kymulga Grist Mill And Park
7346 Grist Mill Road
Childersburg, AL 35044