CNWR-Sope Creek

Marietta Paper Mill Ruins & More map

Mill Ruins on the Creek
From Sope Creek

One of the more compelling places among the Chattahoochee River National Wildlife Reserve is the Sope Creek Unit . It may be overlooked to a degree because it does not run along the Chattahoochee River at all. Sope Creek is a small but pretty creek that feeds the river.

Sope Creek

This one is arguably my favorite of all the CNWR units. Even with its proximity it is relatively peaceful and uncrowded. The trails are of varying inclinations to get the heart pumping but nothing overly strenuous. The outer loop runs about 3 miles, but there are several crossing paths that can take you an additional 3 miles easy, and you can follow the river a bit longer than that if you want.

Marietta Paper Mill Ruins

But what I like most about it is the interesting things to see. The centerpiece of the park is the Marietta Paper Mill Ruins . The Mill, built in 1859, was a primary source of paper for the South and rumored to be place Confederate Money was printed (this is unsubstantiated). Garrard‘s Soldiers burnt the mill down on July 5, 1864. It was rebuilt a year later, but suffered serious fire damage again in 1870. Again being rebuilt but closed for good in 1902. The area in its heyday held the paper mill, a flour mill, a twine plant, and a power plant. The ruins are in reasonably good condition, especially compared to other ruins I have seen like Roswell Mill or Skull Shoals. And very pretty covered in plant growth along the rocky creek. Some of the ruins are on the West Side of the Creek, but the larger portion are on the Eastern side, you have to either cross the vehicle bridge or wade across Sope Creek to get to the other side to see the additional pieces

More Ruins

It also has an Indian ties being the residence of an Cherokee man named Sope, for which the creek is purportedly named. Somehow, due to his stature in the community he was allowed to bypass the Cherokee Removal and remain on his land. He is said to be buried in Sewell’s Cemetery.

More Ruins

There’s also a covered bridge story here. Cobb County’s second to last covered bridge crossed the road right at the vehicle bridge, but it was burned to the ground in 1964 (Arson Suspected). Only the masonry at the base remains. One can only imagine how much prettier this already beautiful location would have been it the Paper Mill Covered Bridge still survived.

Paper Mill Covered Bridge Masonry

Also if you walk the eastern path away from the ruins toward the Columns Drive parking, you will literally stumble across a small cemetery with three tombstones. The gates are artistically rusted and it appears to be the family of Daniel Scribner M.D. Dr. Scribner died in 1883 and the other two are seriously worn such that I would only be guessing what the names are. (If you know more about this please let me know).

a note on the cemetery after original publication: According to this website here is some additional information about the gravesite, posted by a Charles Andrews in 2004:

Dr. Daniel Dana Scribner married Sarah Jane Ansley, daughter of Marlin and Zeruah Johnston Ansley. Sarah is buried there with her husband, four Scribner children, and my GGG grandmother Mary Winifred Ansley Andrews. Mary Andrews was Sarah's sister. They, both widows, lived together on the Scribner place in their later years until their deaths in the 1880s.
I have Dr. Scribner's medical diploma from the University of Pennsylvania Medical College.
Dr. Scribner's Grave

The Creek itself has very pleasant cascades and there a small pond on the West side of the park, both apparently good fishing locations. So if you are looking for a pretty place with relative quiet that anyone can enjoy for a few hours, the Sope Creek Unit is great answer.

Sope Creek Again

Trail Essentials
Approximate Time: 3-4 hours
Approximate Distance: 4-7 miles
Trail Surface: Compact Soil, a short patch on paved road with traffic
Features: Creek, Cascades, Ruins, History

Overall Rating:B+
Scenic Quality: A
Athleticism: B-
Solitude: B
Value: A
Parking: $3
Hours of Operation: daylight hours
Facilities: at the parking area
Maps: Trail Map
County: Cobb

1 comment:

  1. John LondonJuly 01, 2009

    Hi -

    Re; the covered bridge at Sope Creek you have listed 1864 for it's demise by fire. I think that date should be 1964 or near that time. I spent a lot of time on the creek in the late 1950's, early 1960, and the bridge was there and in pretty good shape.

    John London -



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