clock menu more-arrow no yes

Crossing the 'Hooch: Fulton's Ferries, Bridges and Fords

View as Map

Last month, the AJC's Living Intown magazine ran a feature "The River Runs Through Us," and while the Chattahoochee River does run through the metro — forming the borders of the City of Atlanta, various counties and many municipalities — it's hard to argue that most Atlantans give the river a daily thought. Yet the 'hooch has long been a major piece of the puzzle in shaping the Atlanta we know today; the vestiges of that impact are still all around us in the names of roads and places across the metro. Crossing the river was big business in early Atlanta, and to illustrate this, we've mapped the legacy for you, after the jump. For the sake of brevity, we've limited the hunt to present-day Fulton County

The Chattahoochee River runs through metro Atlanta, wending its way between the hills that surround the city, delineating city and county borders as it goes, largely unnoticed in daily life. Often, the most we hear about the river is the seemingly endless battle with Alabama and Florida over who the water belongs to. But the river provides more than just our water, with recreation spaces enjoyed by many Atlantans — especially as the summer weather transitions to fall. While the railroads brought Atlanta into existence, it is the Chattahoochee that, in many ways, sustains us. Today we can shoot across the river in a matter of seconds, thanks to the interstates and major roadways that connect the suburbs into Atlanta, likely contributing to our lack of consciousness of its waters. But back when the metro was an assortment of far-flung cities, small private ferries and bridges provided much needed access. And the map hints at that.


In a city that often excels at erasing physical history, it's interesting to see so much intact social history in the road and place names near the river. Many Atlantans utilize the infrastructure daily, likely with very little thought as to why it is there.

It's understandable that Atlantans take the Chattahoochee for granted. After all, when you think of great waterways in cities — the Mississippi in New Orleans, the Thames in London, the Seine in Paris, etc. — they are prominent fixtures and embedded in the identity of the city. The Chattahoochee isn't visible in the urban realm of Atlanta and does not offer the same prominence or importance of those in other cities. But it has played a profound role in shaping development, forming municipal and county boundaries, and was for many years a great physical barrier for Atlantans.

While we now fly across the river on Ga. Highway 400, Interstate 285, or Interstate 75 with ease, dozens of roads still bear the legacy of the river that runs through us.

For a more detailed account of the intricacies and history of these crossings, tune in to WABE 90.1 at 10 a.m. this Tuesday, Sept. 1, for a segment with Curbed Atlanta on City Lights with Lois Reitzes.

· A River Runs Through Us [Living Intown; AJC subscriber]

Read More

1. McGinnis Ferry

Copy Link
8255 McGinnis Ferry Road
Suwanee, GA 30024

The road now serves as the dividing line between Fulton and Forsyth counties, connecting across the River -- via Littles Ferry Bridge -- to Gwinnett.

2. Rogers Bridge

Copy Link
4299 Rogers Bridge Road
Duluth, GA 30097

While no longer a crossing of the River, a road leads down on each side to a still-standing metal bridge at the crossing.

3. Abbotts Bridge

Copy Link

Abbotts Bridge Road crosses the Chattahoochee between Duluth in Gwinnett and Johns Creek in Fulton.

4. State Bridge

Copy Link
Pleasant Hill Road & State Bridge Road
Duluth, GA 30097

Today, State Bridge Road becomes Pleasant Hill as it crosses two two-lane bridges from Johns Creek to Duluth.

5. Medlock Bridge

Copy Link
8896 Medlock Bridge Road
Johns Creek, GA 30097

Medlock Bridge carries a road by the same name between the new-ish cities of Johns Creek to Peachtree Corners.

6. Jones Bridge

Copy Link
4901 East Jones Bridge Road
Norcross, GA 30092

While there's no longer a usable bridge here, roads bearing the name still stretch down to parks on both sides of the river. Also standing: the remains of a steel bridge from the early 1900s.

7. Holcomb Bridge

Copy Link
8106 Georgia 140
Alpharetta, GA 30022

Today Holcomb Bridge connects Roswell and Peachtree Corners where Fulton County jumps the River and crashes into DeKalb and Gwinnett counties.

8. Nesbit Ferry

Copy Link
8005 Nesbit Ferry Road
Sandy Springs, GA 30350

The only reminder of this one-time ferry crossing is a road with the name that stretches through the far northeastern panhandle of Sandy Springs and picks up again far north of the River in Alpharetta.

9. Jett Ferry

Copy Link
8400 Jett Ferry Road
Sandy Springs, GA 30350

Like Nesbit Ferry to the north, there is no longer a crossing of the river here, but a road with the same name stretches through Sandy Springs and Dunwoody on the southern riverbank.

10. Island Ford

Copy Link
Island Ford Parkway
Sandy Springs, GA 30350

The only remaining "ford" of the River in the area, the name coincides with an island in the Chattahoochee between Sandy Springs and Roswell.

11. Island Ferry

Copy Link
Island Ferry Road
Atlanta, GA 30350

Once there was a ferry to accompany the ford, but today there's only a park, just north of Ga. Highway 400.

12. Johnson Ferry

Copy Link
608 Johnson Ferry Road Northwest
Sandy Springs, GA 30328

Once a ferry crossing, today's bridge carries six-lanes of traffic on a road bearing the Johnson name.

13. Powers Ferry

Copy Link
2150 Powers Ferry Road Southeast
Atlanta, GA 30339

Stretching through Cobb and Fulton counties, the bridge on Powers Ferry road remains a lasting vestige of a ferry that crossed near present-day I-285.

14. Paces Ferry

Copy Link
4118 Paces Ferry Road Northwest
Atlanta, GA 30327

While today a disjointed road from Buckhead to Vinings, the route was once served by a ferry. An old wood and steel bridge still carries pedestrians next to the road.

15. Bakers Ferry

Copy Link
Bakers Ferry Road
Atlanta, GA

Bakers Ferry Road no longer makes it near the river, but it marks where a crossing once existed south I-20 near Six Flags, lending its name to the neighborhood.

16. Smith Ferry

Copy Link
Smith Ferry Road
Douglasville, GA 30135

Far south of the reaches of Atlanta, only a tiny segment of Smith Ferry Road tells of the former crossing which connected Douglasville to former Campbell County.

17. Garretts Ferry

Copy Link
Garretts Ferry Road
Palmetto, GA 30268

Garretts Ferry Road in Palmetto offers the only reminder of ferry service that ran in what is now far southern Fulton County.

18. Capps Ferry

Copy Link

Today a two-lane concrete bridge crosses the River, connecting Capps Ferry Road in Douglasville with South Fulton Parkway in Palmetto.

19. Jones Ferry

Copy Link
Jones Ferry Road
Palmetto, GA 30268

Present-day Jones Ferry Road stretches through rural Palmetto past a riverside race track, with remnants of the road on the north side of the River in Whitesburg.

20. Hutcheson Ferry

Copy Link
12995 Hutchesons Ferry Road
Palmetto, GA 30268

Near the South Fulton outpost of Serenbe, this one-time river crossing is marked by roads bearing its name on both sides of the River.

Loading comments...

1. McGinnis Ferry

8255 McGinnis Ferry Road, Suwanee, GA 30024

The road now serves as the dividing line between Fulton and Forsyth counties, connecting across the River -- via Littles Ferry Bridge -- to Gwinnett.

8255 McGinnis Ferry Road
Suwanee, GA 30024

2. Rogers Bridge

4299 Rogers Bridge Road, Duluth, GA 30097

While no longer a crossing of the River, a road leads down on each side to a still-standing metal bridge at the crossing.

4299 Rogers Bridge Road
Duluth, GA 30097

3. Abbotts Bridge

10998 Abbotts Bridge Rd Johns Creek, Georgia

Abbotts Bridge Road crosses the Chattahoochee between Duluth in Gwinnett and Johns Creek in Fulton.

4. State Bridge

Pleasant Hill Road & State Bridge Road, Duluth, GA 30097

Today, State Bridge Road becomes Pleasant Hill as it crosses two two-lane bridges from Johns Creek to Duluth.

Pleasant Hill Road & State Bridge Road
Duluth, GA 30097

5. Medlock Bridge

8896 Medlock Bridge Road, Johns Creek, GA 30097

Medlock Bridge carries a road by the same name between the new-ish cities of Johns Creek to Peachtree Corners.

8896 Medlock Bridge Road
Johns Creek, GA 30097

6. Jones Bridge

4901 East Jones Bridge Road, Norcross, GA 30092

While there's no longer a usable bridge here, roads bearing the name still stretch down to parks on both sides of the river. Also standing: the remains of a steel bridge from the early 1900s.

4901 East Jones Bridge Road
Norcross, GA 30092

7. Holcomb Bridge

8106 Georgia 140, Alpharetta, GA 30022

Today Holcomb Bridge connects Roswell and Peachtree Corners where Fulton County jumps the River and crashes into DeKalb and Gwinnett counties.

8106 Georgia 140
Alpharetta, GA 30022

8. Nesbit Ferry

8005 Nesbit Ferry Road, Sandy Springs, GA 30350

The only reminder of this one-time ferry crossing is a road with the name that stretches through the far northeastern panhandle of Sandy Springs and picks up again far north of the River in Alpharetta.

8005 Nesbit Ferry Road
Sandy Springs, GA 30350

9. Jett Ferry

8400 Jett Ferry Road, Sandy Springs, GA 30350

Like Nesbit Ferry to the north, there is no longer a crossing of the river here, but a road with the same name stretches through Sandy Springs and Dunwoody on the southern riverbank.

8400 Jett Ferry Road
Sandy Springs, GA 30350

10. Island Ford

Island Ford Parkway, Sandy Springs, GA 30350

The only remaining "ford" of the River in the area, the name coincides with an island in the Chattahoochee between Sandy Springs and Roswell.

Island Ford Parkway
Sandy Springs, GA 30350

11. Island Ferry

Island Ferry Road, Atlanta, GA 30350

Once there was a ferry to accompany the ford, but today there's only a park, just north of Ga. Highway 400.

Island Ferry Road
Atlanta, GA 30350

12. Johnson Ferry

608 Johnson Ferry Road Northwest, Sandy Springs, GA 30328

Once a ferry crossing, today's bridge carries six-lanes of traffic on a road bearing the Johnson name.

608 Johnson Ferry Road Northwest
Sandy Springs, GA 30328

13. Powers Ferry

2150 Powers Ferry Road Southeast, Atlanta, GA 30339

Stretching through Cobb and Fulton counties, the bridge on Powers Ferry road remains a lasting vestige of a ferry that crossed near present-day I-285.

2150 Powers Ferry Road Southeast
Atlanta, GA 30339

14. Paces Ferry

4118 Paces Ferry Road Northwest, Atlanta, GA 30327

While today a disjointed road from Buckhead to Vinings, the route was once served by a ferry. An old wood and steel bridge still carries pedestrians next to the road.

4118 Paces Ferry Road Northwest
Atlanta, GA 30327

15. Bakers Ferry

Bakers Ferry Road, Atlanta, GA

Bakers Ferry Road no longer makes it near the river, but it marks where a crossing once existed south I-20 near Six Flags, lending its name to the neighborhood.

Bakers Ferry Road
Atlanta, GA

16. Smith Ferry

Smith Ferry Road, Douglasville, GA 30135

Far south of the reaches of Atlanta, only a tiny segment of Smith Ferry Road tells of the former crossing which connected Douglasville to former Campbell County.

Smith Ferry Road
Douglasville, GA 30135

17. Garretts Ferry

Garretts Ferry Road, Palmetto, GA 30268

Garretts Ferry Road in Palmetto offers the only reminder of ferry service that ran in what is now far southern Fulton County.

Garretts Ferry Road
Palmetto, GA 30268

18. Capps Ferry

South Fulton Parkway & Capps Ferry Road, Georgia 30268

Today a two-lane concrete bridge crosses the River, connecting Capps Ferry Road in Douglasville with South Fulton Parkway in Palmetto.

19. Jones Ferry

Jones Ferry Road, Palmetto, GA 30268

Present-day Jones Ferry Road stretches through rural Palmetto past a riverside race track, with remnants of the road on the north side of the River in Whitesburg.

Jones Ferry Road
Palmetto, GA 30268

20. Hutcheson Ferry

12995 Hutchesons Ferry Road, Palmetto, GA 30268

Near the South Fulton outpost of Serenbe, this one-time river crossing is marked by roads bearing its name on both sides of the River.

12995 Hutchesons Ferry Road
Palmetto, GA 30268