Covered bridges were once a common sight across the American landscape. Today, many of those idyllic structures have been replaced with concrete and steel. Perhaps that’s why when we see one today we feel like we’re stepping back in time. Read on to discover this gorgeous covered bridge in Mississippi and learn the fascinating history of its surroundings.
A Charming Covered Bridge in Mississippi
Located in the small town of Iuka, MS, Memorial Springs Park is a historic park that was once renowned for its famous healing mineral springs. Within this picture-perfect park is a charming covered bridge that can be walked across or driven through.
The details of the original construction of the bridge are hazy. However, we do know the original bridge was destroyed by a flood in 1991. The bridge that stands today was reconstructed in 1993.
The David L. Nichols Memorial Bridge creates a pretty scene in any season, whether covered with snowfall or surrounded by colorful autumn trees.
Who Was David L. Nichols?
David L. Nichols was the former mayor of the town of Iuka. Mayor Nichols was mayor for three terms during the 1990s and was responsible for many projects that bettered the city. Nichols died due to a brain tumor at the age of 66 in 2020.
One of his lasting legacies was the Indian Creek Watershed project. This project was not only responsible for restoring the iconic covered bridge in the park that crosses Indian Creek but also established flood mitigation measures that prevented Indian Creek from flooding nearby homes.
Where is the David L. Nichols Memorial Bridge Located on a Map?
The bridge crosses Indian Creek in Iuka’s Mineral Springs Park. Iuka is located in Tishomingo County in northeastern Mississippi. Iuka is about two hours east of Memphis, TN, and is just north of the highest point in the state, Woodall Mountain.
What is the History of Mineral Springs Park?
Founded in 1857, Iuka was once the site of a Chickasaw Village. In fact, the town gets its name from Chief Iuka. Legend has it that Chief Iuka had been suffering from many ailments. His tribe carried him to the healing waters of the mineral springs. After drinking the water, it is said Chief Iuka quickly regained his health.
During the Civil War, Iuka became a battleground between Union and Confederate armies. The 1862 Battle of Iuka resulted in as many as 1,500 deaths. Soldiers made their camps near the mineral springs, and when they returned home, the story of the healing waters was spread across the country.
After the Civil War, as the tales of the healing waters began to spread, many people suffering from a yellow fever epidemic came to the area in hopes of a cure. The luxurious Mineral Springs Hotel was built to house the many visitors arriving on trains to sample the healing waters. The waters became even more famous when they took first prize in the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair.
However, pastimes like visiting mineral springs fell out of fashion during World War I and the tourists to the area lessened. In 1944, the hotel was destroyed in a fire and the park slowly deteriorated.
The Restoration of Mineral Springs Park
At some point, the springs stopped flowing due to the buildup of mineral deposits. Funding from federal and state programs helped bring the park and the springs back to life in the 1970s. Three of the original six springs were restored and still flow today.
Aside from benches and a bandstand, a playground was added under the shady trees, and a historic dogtrot log cabin was relocated and restored.
Today, the park has a fountain where visitors can get a drink directly from the mineral springs.
What Wildlife Can Be Found Around Iuka?
Mississippi is home to a diverse population of wildlife. Some of the many animals living in the area include otters, beavers, white-tail deer, armadillos, muskrats, and coyotes.
Furthermore, Iuka is located in Tishomingo County, home to Tishomingo State Park. The park boasts stunning rock formations covered in moss, trails bordered with wildflowers, and ferns growing abundantly in crevices. Visitors to the park can hike on the wooded trails, rock climb, and picnic.
Birdwatching is another popular activity at the park, and some of the species you might encounter include flycatchers, vireos, warblers, and thrushes. The lakes and streams in the park are perfect for fishing, and anglers can expect to find a variety of fish, including catfish, bass, and bluegill.