End of the line for famous Athens trestle?

For years, the famed “Murmur Trestle” in Athens, Ga., has attracted R.E.M. fans from around the globe. But, time may be running out for the 130-year-old trestle, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The trestle was built in 1883 and served the Georgia Railroad and later CSX Transportation, according to the Athens Banner-Herald.

Athens-Clarke County purchased the trestle, off Poplar Street near Dudley Park, in 2000 for $25,000 after CSX Transportation started to raze the structure. The local government planned to incorporate the bridge into a regional trail system, but in December announced a planned trail would bypass the historic trestle, the Athens Banner-Herald reported.

Over the years, R.E.M. fans have visited and urged Athens officials to find a way to save the trestle — a sentiment apparently not shared by the band, which broke up last year.

“We have always loved that image and it represented something essential about our band and our town at the time,” The Wall Street Journal quoted the band as saying in a statement. “We have never been on the Save The Trestle bandwagon, so to speak, figuring it might be a bit unseemly to advocate for a monument to ourselves.”

Last June, the Athens Banner-Herald called for a final decision on the trestle and another R.E.M.-related relic — the steeple of the former St. Mary’s Episcopal Church where the band performed its first concert.

“It is, of course, no less true that in the current economic climate, having the government ask taxpayers to foot the bill for preserving the two structures also would be a non-starter,” the newspaper said. “And, it’s difficult to see any meaningful private funding effort developing in the current economy for preserving two structures that, even when preserved, wouldn’t seem particularly important or iconic.”

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About Todd DeFeo 1269 Articles
Todd DeFeo loves to travel anywhere, anytime, taking pictures and notes. An award-winning reporter, Todd revels in the experience and the fact that every place has a story to tell. He is the owner of The DeFeo Groupe and also edits Express Telegraph and Railfanning.org.