Bridgeport, OK

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City/Town: Bridgeport
Location Class: Ghost Town
Year Built:
Year Abandoned:
Status:
Photojournalist: Cody CooperJustin Tyler Moore

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 its tracks westward and built its 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 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 business men 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, but it is even more crazy when a whole town is practically left behind. Its a weird feeling seeing the amount 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 population 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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Joann Armstrong Robison
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Joann Armstrong Robison

My family lived in Bridgeport, OK. I started to school there when I was five years old. Miss Bonnie Thompson was my teacher. Mrs Derigo was my second grade teacher. My Grandmother, Belle Hull Armstrong, once had a restaurant in the hotel, later she cooked at her house for the school children. She supplied room and board for the depot agents. My Uncle, Ernest “Bun” Armstrong carried the mail from the depot to the Post Office for years. Lucille Helderman was the postmistress. Four generations of our family got their mail at the Bridgeport Post Office. We moved to Oklahoma… Read more »

jeff moles
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jeff moles

im trying to find out some history on bridgeport. i live in banner oklahoma i have been there looking around

Red Dirt Diggers
Guest
Red Dirt Diggers

Hello, I am a member of a historical excavation group that researches the remains of the early Oklahoma Lifestyle. Do you know of any contact that I could get in touch with? We are very excited to get our metal detectors on this land and find some great history of the people that once lived there. Let me know!

tkwoodward@live.com

Territory ROUTE 66
Guest
Territory ROUTE 66

I believe we have connections. Was Olive Armstrong a relative of yours? The names you mention are very familiar. Sadly, these connections are being lost as the elders die and the stories end. I live back here now. My e mail address is TerritoryROUTE66@gmail.com

Dewayne Grant
Guest
Dewayne Grant

My cousin George Robinson & I, was just talking about Brigeport today watching football on tv. Bridgeport is our home. I was raised there with my brother & sisters. We were talking about returning to live there. I believed I recognized some of the houses in your photos. It would be nice to have a Bridgeport reunion for all who ever lived & loved Bridgeport as much as I.

brandon bowens
Guest
brandon bowens

Good Idea Cousin….Toby

Territory ROUTE 66
Guest
Territory ROUTE 66

Dewayne, some of those who knew you are still here!

April S
Guest
April S

I was in Bridgeport yesterday, April 28, 2012. It is so sad. I grew up about 30 minutes from there and had never heard of it. It really should be cleaned up and some places demolished. It would be nice if there were some historical plaques in the area to tell people about it when they do venture by. I wish there had been more left, I cannot believe it used to be a town of 3000. I only saw the church and the post office.

bev
Guest
bev

at least there is something still left of the town. I was looking for one near there and it is gone, Bridgeport is on the map and my town is so gone it is not even on the map. Happy times to all.

Jill Starr
Guest

I am helping to chart out a route for some horse back riders who want to ride from Ft. Reno, OK to Black Kettle National Grasslands in Cheyenne. I am looking for places that the horses and crew can campout overnight. I was wondering if Bridgeport could be one of those places. They are self contained and just need a place to pitch a few tents and park the trucks with horse trailers for one night as they would head out the next day. Does anyone have any idea who I could contact for a possible site and permission? Thank… Read more »

Red Dirt Diggers
Guest
Red Dirt Diggers

Hello Jill, I am a member of an historical excavation group. We try to find history in the red dirt of the early Okie's lives. did you find any contacts that could possibly help us out? Thanks!

tkwoodward@live.com

Walter Box
Guest
Walter Box

My name is Walter and I have one sheet of paper from Bridgeport with companys advertiseing on it.The same
thing is on the other side of the paper.Phone numbers are two Like this one.( G.A. Wilkerson, M.D. phone 36. city
There one about the Bridgeport. Bank.,Bakery,Confectionery and Icce Cream Parlor. A others.

Jane Prince-Toy
Guest
Jane Prince-Toy

When I was a little girl my aunt Hazel Prince Cotter told me that her grandfather lived in Bridgeport when he first came to OK from Kentucy in the 1890"s and that he was the first Post Master in Bridgeport; His name (my g-grandfather) was John Wilhoyt Prince. Does anyone have any information that verifies this or not? I loved reading this website! good job

laura Roegner
Guest
laura Roegner

Dear Jane, I am looking into my family history and 1/2 of my mothers siblings were born in Bridgeport – Winters family. My grandmother was Orpha White Winters and my grandfather was Noble Winters. Their family also settled from Kentucky about the same time! The Winters family history was written by a U of K student who was related and tracing the Winters name from Kentucky on. If anyone has any info – I too would be interested. Is there a US census dating back to those times? I also heard stories that it was a silver mining area and… Read more »

Beth
Guest
Beth

I am working on a family tree..John Wilhoyt Prince is also a g-g-grandfather of mine. would love more information on him. my email address is jlnbacarr@yahoo.com my name is Beth. Any information would be great. Thank you..01July13

Territory ROUTE 66
Guest
Territory ROUTE 66

Beth, I still live here. Glad to help but this thread is old so perhaps too late. TerritoryROUTE66 @gmail.com

photography kent
Guest

Hello.

Wonderful post, thank you for posting! I�m looking forward to reading more!

Paranormal Videos
Guest

I used to be recommended this web site via my cousin. I am now not certain whether this put up is written via him as nobody else know such specific about my difficulty. You are wonderful! Thank you!

Tom Johnson
Guest
Tom Johnson

Sad to know hardly any one is around. We were the Johnson family that lived there from 1920"s to about 1972. The last one to leave was my grandmother Nellie. Maybe I'll visit some day

Al Cutright
Guest
Al Cutright

Hi, T.O., that is what we called you years ago, my Grandmother and your Father were brother and sister. My father was Frank, your cousin. I graduated from Bridgeport High in 1941. I am back in Okla. after being gone about 70 some years. The last I seen you was in Artesia,CA at my Folks place. If you see this, I say Hi, and hope you are well. It is good to be back in Ok. and I have a place on Lake Eufaula and hope to spend the rest of my days here. Take care and good Luck. Al… Read more »

Laura Roegner
Guest
Laura Roegner

Would you have known any of the Winters family- James, Bernice, Aline, Laura Nadine, Ben, David were the kids- Orpha and Nobles were the parents? Half of the kids were born in Bridgeport but the family migrated to Geary and later Kansas.

Territory ROUTE 66
Guest
Territory ROUTE 66

Tom, my family is related to the Johnsons, Jim and Mary, Connie, Louise. Any of your relation? My parents are James, Jr. and Evelyn McCain, moms nicname was “Boonie”. Let me hear from you! I moved back in 2003 and have now opened a small RVPark on Route 66 at the Bridgeport Y. Carol McCain
TerritoryROUTE66 @gmail.com

Scheiss Website
Guest

Off course its nice when you stay in a place you like, but working is necessary

Henry Kissenger
Guest
Henry Kissenger

Not if you're on welfare

Territory ROUTE 66
Guest
Territory ROUTE 66

Anyone who works commutes to nearby towns. I have been back since 2003 and work in Oklahoma City as a healthcare professional. I enjoy the rural life even with its difficulties of a town in ill repair with town council as lame ducks…we need to look to the future and build upon the opportunities. I can see possibilities.

atheen
Guest
atheen

i live in bridgeport and im happy 2 tell u that we fixd the leak

atheen
Guest
atheen

and the old rail road bridge isstill standin ,also the toll bridge

howard mccain
Guest
howard mccain

only some of the supports…nothing else left of the toll bridge. i thought it burned in about '43.
my aunt martha bruce's home still standtin and occupied, but my grandmothers home is gone…
howard mccain

lyall shafer
Guest
lyall shafer

atheen, how you doing?, i see you live in bridgeport, im not sure how long or how old ya are, but do you remember any mmcains who lived ther or vickie an stonie, frank mmcain, velmer mmcain any of them vickie is no longer with stoine, but had a little girl named natosh. not much information. i use to live in the house down over the hill from the old dump? can ya help me thank you.

Brooke
Guest
Brooke

Visited last year with some buddies; didn't get to see the house in your first batch of pictures, but did get to see the second one. I believe the floor connecting to the kitchen from the outside is caving in, was very difficult to get to the piano. And Bridgeport has some very nice people; they let us photograph without any trouble. Thanks for having this here on your site 🙂

tom
Guest
tom

the suspension supports of the old toll bridge are still standing. Just to the east of the train bridge, you can see the pillars on the south bank among some tall, mature trees

tammy
Guest
tammy

i am interested in knowing if there are any plans on rebuilding bridgeport my husband is from there and would like to see it back on the map again

Tammy Harris
Guest
Tammy Harris

This is absolutely amazing. My family is from Bridgeport and we are having a family reunion this 4th of July, 2010. One of the acitivites we have planned is to drive there and see what was left behind. as I was watching your pictures I tried to recognize as much as I could, however, sadly I was so young when we moved to OKC. Great job on this town.

Clay
Guest

I'm trying to locate the old toll bridge on Google maps. I see what may be a railroad bridge pretty much straight north of Bridgeport, and there is a road that follows the river on the north bank to just east of the RR crossing, and looks like there may have been a road bridge there. But other things I've read indicate that the toll bridge was quite a ways east down the river, just west of the long pony truss Rt 66 bridge. Do you know?

AbandonedOK Team
Guest

Well, I'm not sure it's even there anymore. I read that it actually washed away twice with the river, and they just never rebuilt it a third time. But I can't remember where I read that and if it was a reliable source….

Sam Ellison
Guest

I remember living on that dirt road as a kid in the early 1980's. I used to ride my bicycle down there and see the old toll bridge columns. The railroad bridge stood nearby. And yeah, you had to be on alert with all the poisonous snakes and quicksand in the area. It was an awesome place to grow up as a kid, the people were wonderful and I have very fond memories of that area.

wayne mashaney
Guest
wayne mashaney

I grew up in bridgeport in the 60s and early 70s — was a great place to be–fishing- swimming-hunting and riding motorcycles on the river.Most of your story was correct, but there is no store left and there are several nice homes and doublewides and the Methodist Church and community building are still used regularly.The water system was just recently updated with new wells-etc.Also there are some of the nicest and down to earth people on earth left in Bridgeport.

jeff moles
Guest
jeff moles

im try to find out about bridgeport how can i talk to about the history. jeff

Red Dirt Diggers
Guest
Red Dirt Diggers

Hello, I was wondering if y'all know of any public property in Bridgeport. A Friend and me are avid metal detectorsists and would love to find some history concerning the early Oklahoma lifestyle. If you know of anything please email me at:

tkwoodward@live.com

Jason McEntire
Guest
Jason McEntire

My wife and I visited Bridgeport a couple of years ago on a personal ghost town exploration trip. One of the things that struck me about Bridgeport at the time was that the tower had a significant leak. We drove up the dirt road toward the tower and there was a constant stream flowing from the bottom of the tank like a faucet was open. I wonder if they ever got that fixed?

ADR
Guest
ADR

No. There is still a leak in the tower to this day. Lol. Not sure if its being repaired only to spring a new one or if it could coincidentally be one in the same.

Jamie Taylor
Guest
Jamie Taylor

Amazing! You can see the tower right off I-40. You would have never known any of this was there. Great work guys! Your site just keeps getting better by the day!

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