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April 28, 2006
From journal Wacky in Waco
Grand Prairie, Texas
July 25, 2001
Civic leaders decided a bridge across the Brazos was needed. It took 2,700,000 bricks from Wacoan J.W. Mann and $135,000 to build the 475-foot span, which was finished in January of 1870. It was the first pedestrian/wagon bridge built across the Brazos River.
Upon completion, the Suspension Bridge brought the Texas section of the Chisholm Trail straight through Waco. A year later, the railroad was extended into Waco, and the city became a flourishing trade center. For 20 years after the bridge's completion, a toll was charged for each person and each head of cattle to cross the span.
The Suspension Bridge showed its sturdy engineering when, during the devastating 1953 Waco tornado, it held fast. The tornado destroyed much of downtown Waco and killed 114 people.
The historic Suspension Bridge is the centerpiece of present-day Waco and is surrounded by lovely city parks. Indian Spring Park is on the west bank and Martin Luther King, Jr. Park is on the east bank. A beautifully landscaped riverwalk connects the bridge to the Waco Tourist Information Center and the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum at Fort Fisher. Just past the bridge in the other direction from Fort Fisher is Cameron Park which is a 416-acre park boasting picnic and playground areas, trails open to mountain biking, horseback riding, and hiking, scenic cliffs and Miss Nellie's Pretty Place, a beautiful wildflower preserve.
From journal Home of the Baylor Bears