Farewell to a Piece of History

A new bridge welcomes drivers on Highway 79 across the Red River between Wichita Falls, Texas, and Waurika, Okla. (Photo courtesy Judy Wade)

By Judy Wade

Drivers on Highway 79 between Wichita Falls, Texas, and Waurika, Okla., are enjoying a new bridge over Red River. Millions of vehicles—from bicycles to heavily loaded oil field trucks and more than a few pedestrians—have traversed the old structure.

A least one cattle drive crossed the Red River via the bridge. In the early 50s, cattle from Claypool, Okla., traveled to Waurika on Highway 70, spent the night there, and continued south on Highway 79 to the Langford Ranch, just south of the river.

Built in 1939, the almost 80-year-old bridge withstood the test of time. It even survived the horrible flood of 1984 when part of the highway on the Texas side washed away, closing access to the bridge for many months.

Travelers had to detour through Burkburnett, Texas, or Terral, Okla., where the closest bridges spanned the river, an additional 50 miles or so.

To read more pick up a copy of the February 2019 NTFR issue. To subscribe call 940-872-5922.