GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – A historic bridge in a remote area of northern Greenville County has been damaged by vandals.
The vandalism on Poinsett Bridge is believed to have been done last week, according to Greenville County’s Governmental Affairs Coordinator Bob Mihalic.
Mihalic said the county is “an active partner is supporting the bridge and area, but the property and the bridge are owned by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.
Mihalic said the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office is working the case.
“The vandalism is believed to have been done last week,” said Mihalic. “South Carolina DNR has jurisdiction over the actual bridge and have indicated that they will begin removing the pains as soon as possible.”
The bridge is considered the oldest surviving bridge in South Carolina.
It’s on Callahan Mountain Road near Highway 25 in the Little Gap Creek area north of Travelers Rest.
John Nolan with Greenville History Tours reacted to the news Monday.
Nolan said it is important to preserve and protect historical places like Poinsett Bridge, which was built in 1820.
“There’s no cement in it. Those stones are hand cut. They’re wedge shaped along the opening. They’re all laid in place and hold each other up. it’s amazing construction,” said Nolan.
Nolan said he learned of the damage on social media where users were posting pictures of the stones painted multiple colors.
“I was just so sad when I saw that,” said Nolan. “I’ve lived here almost 30 years and I’ve never heard of that being vandalized so it’s just really sad.”
When 7 News cameras were at the bridge Monday DNR workers were wrapping up their day after cleaning the stones.
The colors so far had faded but were not completely washed off yet.
Mihalic said efforts are being made to clean the structure while still protecting further damage.
“They have a product that can take the paint off while doing little damage to the historic structure,” he said.
DNR officials on the scene couldn’t comment on the damage.
7 News called media relations officials in Columbia but did not hear back Monday night.
According to Greenville Parks and Recreation’s website, historians believe Poinsett Bridge was designed by Robert Mills, the architect of the Washington Monument.
Dolan said the bridge is named for Joel Poinsett, a well known South Carolinian who lived in Charleston but spent his summers in Greenville.
Dolan said Poinsett was head of the roads commission at the time and was building a road that started in Charleston, went through Columbia, Greenville, and up into Asheville.
It happened at a time when people were starting to travel longer distances and over state lines.