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Comanche Co. Bridge to be Sold

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COMANCHE CO., Okla_ A piece of Comanche County history is going on the auction block, selling a 103-year-old bridge next week.

The bridge is located just west of Indiahoma on Hosley Acre Road, over Sandy Creek. Western District Commissioner Don Hawthorne said he's selling the bridge, because it has not been used in almost 14 years and is no longer in the county's bridge system. Because the bridge is on the state's Historic Bridge Survey List, there are specific protocols on how it can be sold.

When selling a historic bridge, it has to be kept in tact. It can not be cut up and sold for iron. It also has to be ready for public viewing. Hawthorne said if anyone has a nostalgic connection to the bridge and wants to see it again, it has to be made available.

The bridge's splintered boards and rusted rivets have seen a century's worth of traffic. Hawthorne said the bridge used to be the main route from Indiahoma going west before US Highway 62 was built, but it hasn't been used since the 1990's.

"The bridge is no longer part of our bridge system, and it's just down here rusting and rotting away," Hawthorne said. "I thought it would be a good opportunity to save the bridge or salvage it. Maybe someone has a use for it. "

Hawthorne said this particular bridge is one of three historic bridges in his district. He said the bridges are a testament to the ingenuity of 20th Century Comanche County residents.

"It shows you how good of engineers they were back then," Hawthorne said. "It was just the engineering back in those days that made them survive."

Bridge Mover Jim McClung has been hired to move the old bridge, which he said will be a tedious process.

"We'll have to make a go around," McClung said. "Go in there, take a track hoe and crane and set it off on dollies. Then, hook our truck up to it to get it ready to go. It will be a pretty good job."

He said once the bridge has been moved, it can no longer be installed on a county road.

"Back in those days, they didn't have the loads that we have now," McClung said. "They just heated them and riveted them together. There are no welds, and there are no bolts. So, they're not near as strong."

Hawthorne said he likes the fact that this 103-year-old bridge will provide a needed passageway for others after its moved.

"Being a history buff myself, I think it's good to preserve the old and have it available for younger generations to see," Hawthorne said. "Maybe future engineers will see what a pony truss bridge looks like."

Hawthorne said the auction bid officially opens at next week's commissioner's meeting. After that, he'll place an auction bid in the local paper. The bid will be open to the public for two weeks.



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