San Diego, CA
Waco Suspension Bridge
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© Christine Till
After the Civil War, Waco, TX was a struggling little town nestled on the west bank of the Brazos River. No bridges crossed the Brazos, the longest body of water in Texas. During floods, days and even weeks passed before travelers as well as cattle could safely cross the river. Although money was scarce and times were hard, a group of businessmen formed Waco Bridge Company and secured a twenty-five-year contract to construct and operate the only toll bridge for five miles up and down the river.
The Waco Suspension Bridge was the first suspension bridge in Texas and one of the largest suspension bridge spans in the world when the original structure was completed in late 1869/early 1870. The bridge was opened January 7, 1870 and functioned for twenty years as a toll bridge with a 24 hour toll keeper - by 1871 between 600,000 and 700,000 head of cattle had passed through the city. On September 1, 1889, the Suspension Bridge was purchased by McLennan county for $75,000 and conveyed to the city of Waco for one dollar.
Although the large brick towers appear to be the only major remnant of the original bridge this structure is a very charming suspension bridge that forms a historical centerpiece for Waco. In 1971 the bridge was converted to a pedestrian crossing. Today lovely, shaded parkland edges both sides of the river and the bridge enjoys a listing on the National Register of Historic Places and designation by a Texas Historical marker.
March 16th, 2014
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