After the letter I wrote to TXDot appeared in the Baylor County Banner, a lot of people called, emailed and came up to me to tell me they were glad I wrote it. I 'm glad I wrote the letter and let the voice of not only myself but many, from Baylor County, be heard.
The following are photos I took on the way to the bridge and while there.
(a copy of the letter is under the photos)
My name is Angela Walling. I am a lifelong resident of Baylor County. At a recent meeting of the Baylor County Historical Commission, I learned of TxDot’s authorization to replace the Lake Creek Bridge.
I feel, very strongly, that I must, at least write a letter expressing my sadness on that decision.
When I heard of the decision, I began thinking of all the unique and historical architecture Baylor County has already lost. Our local historical commission has been selling calendars, recently, with old photos from around the county. When people flip through the pages, many say; “I remember when…”, “I miss that…”, “I wish they hadn’t torn that down”, ‘I wish we still had that old…”.
By the time I was born (1974) or old enough to appreciate it, a lot of what was once a part of Baylor County had already been destroyed or replaced with modern, unattractive structures. I don’t want the Lake Creek bridge to be our next “I wish they hadn’t”.
One thing Baylor County has not lost, however, is its beautiful countryside. The long winding, hilly, dirt roads of Baylor County are full of surprises and beauty. With each change of the seasons, new colors and scenery appear.
In one area of the county in particular, known as the Lake Creek Community,
true Texas beauty is always abundant. After going around a sharp curve, you enter an area so peaceful and unspoiled where the trees reach to create a canopy across the unpaved road. It’s very likely, by now; you’ve encountered some wildlife, too. Perhaps a deer, bobcat or turkey has surprised you along this drive. However, an even better surprise is right ahead.
There, an old wood and iron pony truss bridge, built in 1930, stands ready to carry you to the other side of the creek, just as it has carried people across for seventy eight years.
Many times, I have taken photos of my family at this location, before driving on across and, often, being welcomed to the next curve by beautiful rows of wildflowers.
You see, the bridge has been there for so long, it has come to belong there. It represents the roots of a community, mostly abandoned, decades ago.
Though it was built in the years of depression, it was built strong and has withstood time fairly well for nearly eighty years.
So often, in today’s world of readily available, manmade materials, the decision to replace, rather than restore is made.
I ask that you, please, consider preserving a part of my county’s history. So much of our architecture has already been lost to modernization and it would, truly, break my heart and the hearts of others who wish to preserve some of the history of Baylor County if the Lake Creek bridge no longer existed.
I can’t imagine taking my family for one of our drives down the dirt roads of Baylor County, going around that curve, and not seeing that old bridge. It just wouldn’t be the same. Something would be missing. It wouldn’t feel right, after the bridge had been there all of those years, for it to be gone. The once peaceful, charming, photographic countryside would, forever, be altered.
I am very interested in my county’s past and have dug through pages and pages of Baylor County history, trying to find something on this bridge that could be considered historically significant. I tried, so hard, to find a reason for those, not from around here, to want to keep it intact. In the end, however, I guess it comes down to a small town, country girl wanting to take something that is dear to many people of this county and let them keep it, always.
If I could help preserve just one thing in Baylor County, it would be the Lake Creek Bridge.
In 1972, a book, Salt Pork to Sirloin was published. In that book, many people contributed to telling the history of Baylor County. In telling of the Lake Creek Community, Mrs. Melburn Morse wrote
“Who knows how far reaching is the influence today, and in the future of those courageous and hardy pioneers who settled Lake Creek?”
If it is the safety of drivers and passengers of those who cross the Lake Creek bridge which has made you decide to replace it, then, perhaps, you will consider leaving the original bridge intact and placing a new bridge, for traffic, nearby.
When I sat down to write this letter, I knew it would be a long one. I hope I have been able to express to you how important I feel it is to keep this part of Baylor County’s history in Baylor County’s future.
Thank you for taking this request into consideration.
On Tuesday, October 28, 2008, the Baylor County Commissioners Court held a meeting to discuss, consider and act on the Lake Creek Bridge. Several members of the Baylor County Historical Commission and a representative from TXDOT also attended the meeting. The commisioners decided to keep the bridge and preserve it at it's present location.
Baylor County Commissioners
Piatt, Morris, Clark and Nelson
Baylor County Historical Commission
Since the last update, a few changes to the original plan have taken place. The Lake Creek Bridge will still be saved! It just won't remain at it's present location. At this time, TXDOT, The Baylor County Historical Commission, Baylor County and The City of Seymour have all agreed to move the structure within the city limits of Seymour. This process is currently scheduled to begin in the summer of 2015, likely around June of that year. At that time the Lake Creek Bridge will be removed from it's current location where it has served as a way across Lake Creek since 1930. TXDOT will then replace the bridge with a new one and will take the current one for renovations dealing with safety, etc. Hopefully, by the time TXDOT has completed the necessary repairs the "pads" for the bridge's new home will be complete and the bridge will be placed in the Seymour City Park where it will cross Seymour Creek. As a historical commission, we see this move as a good thing and are happy that it will be placed across another creek of historical significance to the county. At the bridge's current location, in what was known as the Lake Creek Community at the time it was built, it is seen by few and unknown to many. Often, the target of vandalism, the bridge has stood strong for many generations. However, in an effort to improve access, safety, and in hopes of more people being able to know of the bridge's history we believe this is the best option for it. As more plans are made, throughout the upcoming year, I will keep you updated on the progress.