Trail Creek Trestle was the last major structure to be built as part the Georgia Railroad's task of building a branch line to Athens, GA as part of their 1833 charter with the state. Before it's construction, passengers and freight on the Georgia Railroad had to disembark at Carr's Hill on the eastern side of the North Oconee River. With the completion of the trestle over trail creek in 1883, the Georgia Railroad, its passengers and goods now had a direct connection to Athens proper.
Despite the Georgia Railroad being the first line to Athens, the early days of having to disembark at Carr's Hill discouraged passengers and businesses alike and lead to the development of 3 better designed lines into Athens, making the Athens branch the least significant of the 4 lines serving the city. Railroad Consolidation in the latter part of the 20th Century made in branch line redundant to the Georgia Railroad's successor, CSX Transportation, with portions of the line being abandoned beginning in 1984, with the line finally being completely abandoned in 1997.
The Trail Creek Trestle's saving grace came in 1983 when a newly formed band known as R.E.M. (they've only sold over 85 million records worldwide) used the trestle as the rear cover photo for their debut album, Murmur. This lead to the trestle becoming known as Murmur Trestle to both locals and R.E.M. fans alike. When demolition threatened to destroy the trestle in 2000, fans of R.E.M. all over the world and local Athenians campaigned and helped raised funds to convince the city to buy what remains of the structure and preserve it as an attraction for locals, visitors, and R.E.M. fans alike.