Harrisburg Holidayby Robert A. Tino
Preserved for over 130 years and honorably named to the National Register of Historic Places at its centennial in 1975, the Harrisburg Covered Bridge has always been a national treasure to travelers roaming the foothills of the Smokies. This rare surviving example of a covered timber truss bridge has witnessed over 520 seasons morph from sultry dog days into frigid full moon nights in a rich, varied and full lifetime. The artist has caught this country road icon before in other lights and seasons, as it spans the Little Pigeon, patiently accommodating wanderers, working farm wagons, overloaded hay trucks, carloads of autumn leaf-peepers and here ... roly-poly snowmen. Perched rakishly on the morning's icy-down picnic cloth, are these fa-la-la fashion plates a pair of holiday hitchhikers flagging a ride home? If so, they ought to hop in the back with the family's tree. A nostalgic ride in the heat-blasting front seat of an apple-red '49 Chevy pickup might not be the best bet for these hooligans. Or, maybe, they're a couple of unofficial tollgate keepers - snowy, snoopy sentinels stopping two-foot and four -wheel traffic alike with an unbridled curiosity ... Hey, where ya' goin'? What's in the trunk? Any gifts for us? Perhaps they simply stand as the welcome wagon for this grand old bridge, with merry greetings for weary winter sojourners - happy to stay right here in the good old days. Lighting up the roadside with lopsided goofy grins, this duet croons the traditional chorus, "Love and joy come to you ... and God bless you and send you a Happy New Year "as you cross back over into a Harrisburg Holiday. The Robert A. Tino Gallery joins all those who cherish the Harrisburg Covered Bridge in gratitude to the Great Smokies Chapter and the Spencer Clack Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) who had the foresight thirty years ago to raise funds to restore the bridge as well as secure its place on the National Register of Historic Places. With a grant from a national preservation program, Sevier County rehabilitated and maintains this beloved bridge - one of only six in Tennessee.