Interurban Bridge Missed By Wacoan

FROM READERS:

Interurban Bridge Missed By Wacoan

To the Editor:

I miss the old Interurban Bridge recently razed. To the aesthetically minded, and those who wish to set the old Suspension Bridge off in an environment where it can be viewed without encumbrance, I must surely sound like a nut. I am sure that the only persons who feel as I do about the old interurban bridge are railroad enthusiasts, as I am.

The teenager of today, who has not seen one of the big red cars, scurrying across the landscape carrying happy people, swiftly, safely, frequently and with a dash and elan never before or after achieved, has missed one of the most dramatic sights in the realm of transportation.

Now, so few artifacts of that glamorous era are left, and only an occasional glimpse of an embankment, a bridge abutment, an occasional substation or depot or terminal building are left to remind us of a far-flung transportation system that was born and bred out of necessity and for about 50 years served faithfully its particular mission.

Due to muddy roads, unreliability of early automobiles, and infrequent passenger train schedules, the interurban was born to carry persons swiftly and safely to their destinations.

Basically the interurban connected urban centers of population, but served more the needs of the rural areas, and stops were made almost anywhere in between.

One of the reasons for the success of the Interurban was its swift acceleration, and rapid deceleration. They could go from zero to 50 miles an hour in the the matter of seconds, and could stop within a distance a third of that of a standard passenger train. This meant a faster running time than that of any form of transportation, including the more numerous stops enroute.

The death knell of the interurban came because of better roads, improved automobiles, and buses, and when they did close down, it was strictly because of fiscal reasons, no longer being profitable.

Only one interurban system that started as such is now in existence, as far as I know, and is the Chicago South Shore and South Bend, but it seems to exist now as an electric railroad carrying freight and passengers. Interurbans pretty well covered the entire U.S.A., but the highest concentration of lines was in the Midwest in the states of Illinois, Ohio, and Indiana.

Interurbans per se have gone, but it will be many years before a more useful and gallant system of transportation comes along.

Geoffrey S. Dawson

1207 Ashelman

The Waco Tribune Herald, November 7, 1975


NOTE: Construction of the Interurban Bridge in Waco, which was next to the Suspension Bridge, was completed in 1913. When the Interurban ceased operation on December 31, 1948, a new deck was put on the bridge for automobile traffic. Both the Interurban Bridge and the Suspension Bridge were closed in 1973 when the Franklin Avenue Bridge was opened. In 1974, many considered it an eyesore and city fathers decided to demolish it as a part of preparing the town to celebrate the 1976 Bicentennial. The demolition of the Interurban Bridge, which began July 15, 1974, was seen as the first step in restoring the Suspension Bridge for the Bicentennial. Demolition of the bridge, which started in November, 1974, was completed in September, 1975. Today, all that remain are the concrete pylons rising up out of the Brazos River. (Dates confirmed by historic newspaper articles.-Randall Scott)

This article was written by Geoffrey S. Dawson, contributed by Mike Braun, and transcribed by Randall Scott.

“Car 367 is carrying green flags in anticipation of an evening rush hour short turn run on the Waco line. The car basks in the summer sun at the Dallas Interurban Terminal.Photo by Howard Babcock from the Richard R. Andrews collection.”
From the book “Texas Electric Railway”(1982) by Johnnie J. Myers and editor LeRoy O. King, Jr.
“Interurban luxury. Texas Electric style. The interior of B in 1917. C.E. Arnold photo from E.L. DeGolyer, Jr. collection.”
From the book “Texas Electric Railway”(1982) by Johnnie J. Myers and editor LeRoy O. King, Jr.
Interior Parlor Car.
From the book “Texas Electric Album” (1975) by Rod Varney.
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From Readers:
Interurban Bridge Missed By Wacoan
“Just south of Oak Cliff Junction, car 315 and trailer pick up speed on September 24, 1948. Of the two daily baggage and express runs each way on the Waco Division train 221 was the only trailer pulled by a passenger car. Arthur Alter photo. Bill Billings collection.”
From the book “Texas Electric Railway”(1982) by Johnnie J. Myers and editor LeRoy O. King, Jr.

Waco’s Interurban Bridge (1913-1975)

WACO’S INTERURBAN BRIDGE (1913-1975)

Construction of the Interurban Bridge in Waco, which was next to the Suspension Bridge, was completed in 1913. When the Interurban ceased operation on December 31, 1948, a new deck was put on the bridge for automobile traffic. Both the Interurban Bridge and the Suspension Bridge were closed in 1973 when the Franklin Avenue Bridge was opened. In 1974, many considered it an eyesore and The Waco Bicentennial Commission and city fathers decided to demolish it as a part of preparing the town to celebrate the 1976 Bicentennial. The demolition of the Interurban Bridge, which began July 15, 1974, was seen as the first step in restoring the Suspension Bridge for the Bicentennial. Demolition of the bridge, which started in November, 1974, was completed in September, 1975. Today, all that remain are the concrete pylons rising up out of the Brazos River.

This photo is from the book “A Pictorial History of Waco” by Roger Conger. From the Gildersleeve-Conger Collection at The Texas Collection, Baylor University. Photo by Fred Gildersleeve.
“Southern Traction crossed the Brazos River at Waco on this three span truss bridge, seen here from the Waco end before the line opened in 1913. To the right is the oldest suspension bridge in the West. It is still standing, though open only to foot traffic. From the Baylor University Library.”
This photo is from the book “A Pictorial History of Waco” by Roger Conger. From the Gildersleeve-Conger Collection at The Texas Collection, Baylor University. Photo by Fred Gildersleeve.
“312 crossing the Brazos River, northbound, at Waco, September 15, 1938. William C. Janssen photo.”
From the book “Texas Electric Railway”(1982) by Johnnie J. Myers and editor LeRoy O. King, Jr.
The days of automobile traffic over the Interurban Bridge. Photo contributed by Rita Balentine Hogan.
The Suspension Bridge and the
Interurban Bridge, looking from the East side of the bridge. Photo from our personal collection.

The Waco Super Slide

The Super Slide was a big part of summer for Waco kids for many years.

In April of 1968, the Super Slide opened on the corner of Valley Mills Drive and Waco Drive, in what was then the Kmart parking lot. There was a Burger Chef restaurant next to it. In 1972, it was moved to Lions Park, where it remained until recent years.

The Super Slide at Lions Park.

1953 Waco Tornado Video-Larsen Photos

All of the photographs in this video were contributed by Roy Larsen. Roy’s father was a mechanic at a garage at Eleventh and Webster on May 11, 1953. He took these amazing photographs a few days later. ALL OF THESE PHOTOS ARE COPYRIGHT PROTECTED BY ROY LARSEN.

All of the locations given were determined by Roy Larsen. He said, “Dad was a mechanic at a garage at 11th and Webter as the tornado went through. He took these photos a few days later. Some locations from my memory, some from Google Maps, many derived from 1948 Waco City Directory, some unknown.”

We are so thankful for Mr. Larsen, who captured this moment in time.

All photos by Mr. Larsen.

Waco Skyline, 1912

THE ILLUSTRATED MUNICIPAL HAND BOOK OF WACO, 1912-1914

This amazing book was compiled by Mayor J. H. Mackey. The original caption is on the photo.

When this book was released in 1912, the Amicable Building was one year old, the McLennan County Courthouse was eleven years old, and the Washington Avenue Bridge was ten. Waco had a lot to be proud of, and this drawing captures much of it!

Drawn by W. E. Smith, 1010 Washington Street.