|City/Town: • Bridgeport|
|Location Class: • Disappearing Town|
|Built: • 1902 | Abandoned: • N/A|
|Status: • Disappearing Town|
|Photojournalist: • Michael Schwarz|
Bridgeport had possibilities of becoming an important and progressive town, but two factors (1) physical‚-the Canadian River‚-and (2) human‚- a town feud‚- caused its downfall. Located on the south bank of the Canadian River in an area of rich farming land, and served by crossing rail lines, the town appeared destined to be the chief shipping point for a large area. The Canadian River, approximately one mile wide at Bridgeport, was subject to high water and sometimes flood during the rainy season. When water was low it could be forded, but there was always the problem of quicksand. The town received its name in the 1890s as the place where stagecoaches waited to cross the river. During high water they were ferried across; during low water the teams forded the river, following well-chosen paths carefully but never stopping in the channel. In 1893 a toll bridge was built. In 1895 a store with a post office located at the south end of the bridge, and Bridgeport had its start. In 1915 a free bridge replaced the toll bridge, but a few years later it was damaged by a flood. The bridge was eventually replaced by the Key Bridge, which charged tolls during the first year. In 1932 the Oklahoma Highway Department constructed a bridge downstream from the Key Bridge and rerouted highways to the south of Bridgeport. In 1948 the Key Bridge was partly burned as a result of a grass fire and had to be removed. In 1958 the bridge for Interstate 40 was completed, resulting in the highway being moved more than one mile south of town. There have been at least five high-water and a dozen low-water bridges across the Canadian near Bridgeport.
In 1898 the Choctaw, Oklahoma and Gulf extended their tracks westward and built their bridge near the toll bridge. The Enid and Anadarko Railway north-south lines, built in 1901, used the same bridge. In 1907 the railroad bridge was demolished when a freight car jumped the track and struck a span of the bridge. This train, carrying cars of livestock and household goods belonging to German emigrants, fell into the sandy river bed. The heavily loaded cars Immediately began sinking into the quicksand. Men trying to save the livestock opened the car doors. Out flew ducks, chickens. and geese to the Bridgeport side of the river. The engine, coal car, and caboose were all that was saved. “To this day the other cars with everything inside as well as the middle section of the bridge lie buried deep somewhere in the shifting sand of the Canadian River bed.” The bridge was replaced the next year but in 1914 was washed away during a flood. A new railroad bridge was again built. Later, in 1939, the track south from Bridgeport was abandoned. In 1901, when the Caddo and Wichita lands were opened for settlement, Bridgeport became a booming new tent town. In a short time frame and brick business buildings and good homes replaced the tents, and a town of over three thousand persons had come into existence. Because of the topography and water a feud developed. Chrystobel Poteet, in the article “Bridgeport by the Canadian” (Chronicles of Oklahoma Vol. XXXIX, No. 2) described it:
People found that water on the west side of Bridgeport was clear and pure while that on the east side, where most of the business buildings had been erected, was filled with gypsum crystals. Instead of trying to find a way to bring good water to the east side a bitter feud developed. The depot was on the west side near the river but a long hill had to be climbed to reach the post office on the east side. To get mail distributed more conveniently businessmen on the west side contrived to move the post office one night during dark hours. A two-story brick building was erected hurriedly on the west side for a bank. The big three-story frame hotel was also moved to a corner location on the west side. Merchants on the east side became so embittered that many of them, in 1902, moved their buildings and stock to Hinton. It is pretty interesting to see buildings that have been abandoned, there is a lot left to wonder about, but it is even crazier when a whole town is practically left behind. It’s a weird feeling seeing the number of belongings left. In between the levels of wear, tear and aging, you can see that the objects were once in good condition, and were once used frequently.
In 1904 Bridgeport had seventy-six places of business, including two banks, a flour mill with an output of one hundred barrels per day, and two hotels. A waterworks had been built along with a forty-thousand-gallon elevated tank. By 1909, however, the number of business institutions had decreased to forty-three. and the population was estimated at less than one thousand. Throughout the years Bridgeport has declined in both populations and as a trade center. The changing of the highways resulted in the town being bypassed to the east and south. It is now a somewhat isolated village in which about 30 people live. The only remaining business is a small grocery store. The depot has been removed, and spurs of the primary track are covered by sand and grass. The place has been described as a rural retirement community.
-From “Ghost Towns of Oklahoma” by John Wesley Morris
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My father Emmett Lambert Sr. was born and raised in Bridgeport. I remember visiting my grandmother Channie Lambert as a child, can’t remember my grandfather Ambrose Lambert Sr. But I want to learn more about my Dads side of the family.
My Grandfather told me just before his passing that his Aunt ran a restaurant/boarding house called Bell's Tavern. I understand the building itself was moved to the North East end of the yellow bridge.
Can anyone tell me about Bell's Tavern? She would have ran it in the 30s and 40s.
Yes, you’re right. Bell Tavern was located where you say. My dad went there to buy “medicine” for us kids when we had bad coughs…whiskey for hot toddies!Dewayne
Loved growing up there I am 70 now but those were the best days of my life will never forget Bridgeport or the wonderful people my dad had the grocery store there I. Am Judy Mashaney my daddy was John we moved there when I was in second grade there was a school for two more years then went to Hinton the rest of my school days
Hi Judy. I remember your dad John very well, and Allie! No more people like that being created!
I can remember a flood in the late 40's or early 50's that washed a Greyhound bus off the road. My grandfather, dad, and I drove up from Binger to see it. Can't find any information about it.
My son has lived in Bridgeport since 1992. His uncle, a dear friend of mine, has owned a farm house with several acres of land there for a great number of years. The farm had been his aunt and uncle's home for many decades before, We came down from up north on a vacation this spring and spent a couple of nights there. It had changed quite a bit since my visit in 1964. We investigated several of the old abandoned homes…so sad to see them coming to such an end. The greenery…tall grasses and new trees…take over pretty fast.… Read more »
They were in the state tournament in OKC in 1943. Maud beat them in the first round.
[…] der Zusammenstellung der Webseite bin ich auf ein interessantes Video von AO AbandonedOK gestossen, dass einige Einblicke in den Zerfall von Bridgeport […]
Awesome pics! You couldn't PAY me enough to go in those abandoned houses, but hats off to you for doing it. My grandma grew up in and around Bridgeport and spoke highly of it until her dying day.
Sadly, a lot of small Oklahoma towns are starting to resemble this one due to widespread meth abuse and general neglect.
My mom was born in Bridgeport in 1937 to Thelma Arthurs. My mom was Dorthy Arthurs, they probably left the area for OKC in 1948. I am planning a trip to Bridgeport, Hydro and Hinton and would like to know if any Arthurs relatives are still in the area.
Does anyone remember the Dobbins family that lived in Bridgeport in the 80s? I know they moved in '91, but I was curious about what happened to their house.
If anyone has any infromation, my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
I miss Velmer McCain Jr.. He was a classmate of mine at Hinton when we were just kids. I heard he passed away, but am unable to find any information on a gravesite or anything. I found what I think is his dad's gravesite there in Graceland Cemetary in Bridgeport, but am unable to find any info on Velmer Jr himself. Velmer Jr. had a sister named Vicky. I believe Velmer's full name was Velmer Earl Mccain Jr. but I'm not 100% sure because we were just kids. The grave I found belongs to Velmer Earl McCain Senior who was… Read more »
You know, so-me of the McCains still live at Bridgeport…we're related by way of our grandfathers being 1/2 brothers (b.1860-1880)
Velmer still lives on the family land directly east of the community building. 2016
I lived in Bridgeport in the mid 80s. When we moved there, they said we moved into the "Hippie House". I know why they called it that. A very good friend of our family lived there before we moved in, he liked to smoke pot and got busted. I really enjoyed living there as a child.
Do you remember the Dobbins family that lived there in the 80s?
Theres another ghost town between hydro and bridgeport that we found fishing on deer creek. Can't remember the name though does anyone know?
im looking foe anyone from bridgeport, who knew, helon an jim mmcain aka jr, stonie an vickie, had a little girl named natosha, freinds also incluted frank mmcain, an a son frank, velmer mmcaine who owned biscut hill? anyone knows any of thes folks please e mail me …. thank you for your time.
I lived in bridge port and knew a biggin McCain maybe related to them in the 90's
The name Biggin sounds familiar. I think my older brothers were friends with them. My brother's names are Jerry (Pancho) and Michael Dobbins.
Biggin passed away around 1995. If he was alive he would be gpaw to three grandaughters. I have a great memory of poncho getting on the bus one day with a big patch of hair missing from his head. we asked him what happend? he said the goat got hungry in middle of the night and he didnt have time to shave his head before school. LOL. Never a dull moment with him and michael around.
I remember us owning goats when we lived there. I've been trying to get as much information about Bridgeport. We moved in 1991.
Are you asking who ownded Biscuit Hill truck stop and restaurant in Hinton? My family is from Bridgeport/Hinton.
Velvet operated not owned Biscuit Hill. Helen, “Jim” really James, Jr. And both Franks have passed
Someone needs to open a resort or amusement park. I miss Hinton Junction too.
say Phil, how ya doing i use to work at the truck stop when velmer McCain had it, aka biscut hill, i almost forgot about that place.great ice tea.
the train is not in the river I found a old news paper. and the train was saved from the river. its called the Bridgeport news feb, 7 1907
someone who knows more than I do should tell about the Civil War Vet reunions at the City Park, which was on the east end near the water tower. That Park had an Olympic size pool (30 yrs ago the hole was still there) Frisco ran special trains from all over the state….The suspention bridge was a toll bridge, and in about '28 the family who ran it paid my dad, Harvey McCain, to take the 8th grade over, and tutor their son, who had failed. So my dad went thru the 8th grade twice, and made straight 'A's both… Read more »
The remains of the pool is still here. Difficult to get to it but I have a plan! Was your family related to the Whites from Geary and the Pecks? If so, you and I are related also! Carol McCain, daughter of James W. McCain, Jr. And Evelyn “Boonie” McCain
I grew up in Bridgeport andlater moved back there, buyingan acreage and building a unique house there…many memories…keep them coming!
I'm assuming you are in AddyMae's Family, since Peak and Belles lived across the river. We get down to Graceland about everyother Memorial Day….. I'm Harvey's son, 74 yrs old now..never lived in Bridgeport when old enough to remember, but spent a lot of summers there, back when Andis' store was still alive. Played on cotton bales at the gin and roller skated in the old high school……….h
I’m just seeing your reply! In what town do you live now? Sure would like to touch base. Trying to rebuild here, looking at getting help from the Oklahoma Historic Society! Thanks for the reply! This thread doesn’t give alerts so I missed your response. TerritoryROUTE66 @gmail.com
Hey carol. This is Ginger Ashley. Do you remember me? I lived in Bridgeport from 1970 to the early 80s. My mom was Dorothy Mashaney.
hello carol, my name is Lyall shafer,i lived in bridgport in the late 70s,, and was friends with jim McCain,an his sons james an jimmy. i knew velmer an frank also . i guss what i want to know is if your related, an if you can help me fined a way to get hold of them. between jim an velmer an james thay had alot of propity in bridgeport. jim McCain was remaried to Helon,so i guss youd say jim was like a step father inlaw. If you can help me please contact me at email@example.com thank you so… Read more »