A Bridge with Spirits, Highlands NC History
In 1886 Highlands’ Fourth Street had a speed bump…a natural speed bump so high it was upending wagons that approached the Main Street intersection with too much horsepower. Fourth and Main Streets were graded down a bit (the speed bump had 7 feet taken off its top) as part of a road and bridge remodel near John Jay Smith’s sawmill at Mill Creek.
As for the bridge…on a chilly Monday morning, Smith channeled the water off Mill Creek so that he, Joe and Joel McGuire, Bob Reese, and Logan Ramsey could ford it and assist installation of a mudsill base. Contractor John Alley got down on his back in the frigid mud and icy water to do the really dirty work. He was so cold he could barely stand after he completed the first phase.
The next week Alley found himself down in Georgia at one of those large labs that manufactures health tonics that would either cure or kill ya. He bought 10 gallons of the stuff and stashed it in the Bathrick laurel, today the site of Wright Square’s east end.