A Tribute to Stella (1921-2004)
Many generations of area residents have treasured Campbell's Covered Bridge as a local icon and place to enjoy Beaverdam Creek on a hot day, meet neighbors while your corn is ground, or as a quiet place to court your sweetheart.
There are many stories of family picnics, engagement proposals and photographs of friends at Campbell's Covered Bridge. It was a place to weather a sudden storm or pull the motor out a pickup truck.
Stella M. Atkins felt strongly that the cherished bridge needed to be preserved for the future, so in 1975 she bought the bridge, the old Smith house, the grist mill and surrounding acreage adding to it the land the Atkins family bought in 1968.
In 1933, at the age of 12, Stella went with the Campbell girls to water their mules at the bridge. Stella's mount bent down to drink and slid Stella off its neck into the creek and mud. The Campbell girls washed her dress, so she wouldn't get in trouble at home.
In 1922 her grandson William Travis Pittman transformed the house and garden by creating the majority of stone masonry that still exist. He added many geological surprises by embedding them into the steps, walls and patio spaces. Unfortunately in 2001 the house and Travis' antique collection perished in a fire. But the bridge continued to be an attraction even when the road was relocated and the bridge was cut off from vehicle traffic.
In 1991, Stella gave part of the property to her daughter, Sylvia A. Pittman, with instructions to save Campbell's Covered Bridge for the future. Sylvia did as her mother wanted by working with Greenville County and interested historic groups to keep the bridge in good shape and allowing many visitors.
Sylvia, like her mother also has a spill in the creek at twelve and a long term appreciation for Campbell's Covered Bridge. Sylvia started with the gift of 1.47 acres, then purchased another 1.47 acres from her sister, Genell Duncan and other adjoining acreage for a total of almost 15 acres.
Sylvia A. Pittman sold the bridge and acreage in 2008 to the Greenville County Recreation District with instructions for it to be developed as an official public historic site and be preserved for future generations.