The story of the Watson Mill Bridge begins in 1868 when Gabriel Watson purchased a grist mill and sawmill that were located on this site. The grist mill was originally built around 1798 and was successful to the point that a small community had developed around it. The mill was powered by a water wheel driven by water from the South Fork of the Broad River.
Washington W. King, son of well known bridge builder and freed slave Horace King, was called upon to build a bridge over the river to provide access to the mills and surrounding community. King built a 229-foot Town Lattice bridge, (held together by wooden pins), in 1885.