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History of Oklahoma Highway Bridges

The Historic Bridges of Oklahoma





  Anyone who has ever conducted an extensive project knows that it is a cooperative endeavor. To study the highway bridges of Oklahoma meant traveling many thousands of miles, meeting hundreds of people, and making countless requests for help. If we can use as a guide the number of people who volunteered to help us locate an old span or shared their memories about an early bridge, then the historic bridges of Oklahoma have a multitude of friends and supporters. In one case we received an offer of help that even exceeded our expectations. A gentleman at a corner garage in Ada, after trying hard to remember the site of an old bridge and not wanting to disappoint us, proposed the next best thing--why not build one for ourselves? He seemed ready to help.

  Funding for this project came from the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, Delmas Ford, Secretary of Transportation and John F. Crowley, Director. The Planning Division, directed by R. J. Driskill, provided administrative control. Coordinating and supervising the project as Technical Director was John D. Hartley, Department Archaeologist, whose own knowledge of bridges and experience with fieldwork benefited the study throughout its several stages. So many individuals at the main office in Oklahoma City and in the field divisions cooperated with this project that to acknowledge them all would be futile. There are, however, a few people who deserve special recognition for their good advice and assistance: Veldo Goins, State Bridge Engineer; Ken Corder of Photographic Services; Kip Smith and Rick Elkins of Central Services. It was a pleasure learning about the state's bridge history from two experts on the subject, engineers Harold Plato, Jr. in Oklahoma City and Veldo Brewer of Holdenville, both leading an active life in retirement.

  In a multitude of ways others helped to make the work of this project better and easier. Melvena Heisch and Marshall Gettys provided the expertise of the State Historic Preservation Office. The following individuals contributed through their knowledge and cooperation: Fred Larwig of Bethany, Oklahoma, and the RWR Steel Co.; David A. Simmons of the Ohio Historical Society; Larry Jochims of the Kansas State Historical Society; David H. Miars, retired, of the Champion Bridge Co.; Robert P. Stupp, of Stupp Bros. Bridge & Iron Co.; and, Frances Webb with the Miami, Oklahoma, Public Library. We are also indebted to many staff members in libraries and historical societies across the state who responded to our inquiries and to the county clerks who graciously dug up dusty records for us.

  The Center for Historic Preservation and Technology at Texas Tech University produced this study. The survey and field research teams consisted of Dianna Everett, Jerry Sheppard, Erik Carlson, Don Abbe, and Harold Whipple. Dr. Everett also assisted in the search for historical sources, while Mr. Sheppard worked on maps. Dennis Williams advised on matters relating to the computer and data processing. Joan Weldon gave administrative support. And my graduate assistant Peggy Hardman established the files, entered data, became chief clerk, and helped me tie the parts together for a successful conclusion to the project. To all of these individuals, thanks is given for their hard work and professionalism.

	Joseph E. King
	Historian and Director
	Center for Historic Preservation & Technology
	Texas Tech University
	Lubbock, Texas 79409

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By Joseph E. King
Center For Historic Preservation & Technology
Texas Tech University

Prepared as Part of an Investigation
Conducted By The
Center For Historic Preservation & Technology
Texas Tech University

Sponsered By The
Planning Division
Oklahoma Department of Transportation
State Of Oklahoma
and the Federal Highway Administration

June 1993

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