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THE RED RIVER BRIDGE WAR

7/22/17 0000z - 7/30/17 2359z
On site at Perrin Field Museum on 7/22, 10 AM - 4 PM Central Time.
 

WHY A BRIDGE WAR SPECIAL EVENT... Here is a not so Brief History

The Bridge War, also called the Red River Bridge War or the Toll Bridge War, was a 1931 bloodless boundary conflict between Oklahoma and Texas over an existing toll bridge and a new free bridge crossing the RED River.

The Red River Bridge Company, a private firm owned by Benjamin Colbert, had been operating a toll bridge between Durant, Okalhoma and Denison,Texas carrying two US hwy routes. Texas and Oklahoma had jointly built a new free span northwest of the existing toll bridge.

On July 10, 1931, the Red River Bridge Company obtained an injunction against the Texas Highway Commission, keeping them from opening the new bridge. The company said that the highway commission had promised in July 1930 to buy the old toll bridge for $60,000, equal to $847,052 today.  In reaction to the injunction the Governor of Texas ordered that the new free bridge be barricaded from the Texas end.

On July 16, the Oklahoma governor ordered the new bridge open by executive order.  Murray issued this order on the grounds that the land on both sides of the river belonged to Oklahoma, per the Louisiana Purchase Treaty of 1803.  Murray sent highway crews across the new bridge to destroy the barricades on the Texas side.

The Texas Governor sent Adjutant General William Warren Sterling and three Texas Rangers (not including Chuck Norris) to the new bridge to defend the Texas Highway Commission workers enforcing the injunction and rebuild the barricade that night. The next day, Oklahoma crews under Oklahoma Governor Murray's order demolished the Oklahoma approach to the toll bridge, rendering that bridge impassable.

The Texas state legislature called a special session on July 23 to pass a bill allowing the Red River Bridge Company to sue the state over the issue, partially in response to meetings in Grayson County, Texas, demanding the free bridge be opened.  The next day, OK Governor Murray declared martial law at the site, enforced by Oklahoma National Guardsmen, and appeared at the site armed with a revolver, hours before a Muskogee, Oklahoma court issued an injunction prohibiting him from blocking the northern toll bridge approach.  Murray directed the guardsmen to allow anyone to cross either bridge.

Murray discovered on July 27 that the free bridge was in danger of being closed permanently.  He expanded the martial-law zone across the river, stationing guardsmen on both free bridge approaches.  The injunction against the bridge opening was dissolved and the martial law order rescinded on August 6.

News of the dispute made national and international headlines.  Adolf Hitler may have believed that the events were evidence of in-fighting between the American states, weakening the union.

The free bridge that was the cause of the dispute was opened on Labor Day, September 7, 1931.  It was replaced in 1995, though a portion of the bridge was saved as a historical attraction and relocated to a park in Colbert, Oklahoma.

The Grayson County ARC is proud and honored to bring you this Special Event and we look forward to receiving your QSL card in the mail.  Please include a SASE with your card.  We also QSL via eQSL and LOTW.

Thanks for stopping by.

73

8222058 Last modified: 2017-07-17 14:37:50, 5215 bytes

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