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Lost and Found
The bridge was named for an Oklahoma governor who served from 1931 to 1935.
Photo by MARK W. NAULT
Bridge the Gap
This eighty-four-year-old span in western Oklahoma provides safe passage over the South Canadian River.
By Silas Allen
Published May/June 2017
Along Route 66, where the western Oklahoma prairie gives way to the high plains of the West, sits a bridge sharp-eyed film buffs or literature-savvy Okies might recognize.
The 3,944-foot-long bridge served as the backdrop for a scene in the Academy Award-winning film The Grapes of Wrath, an adaptation of the John Steinbeck novel of the same name. In that scene, the Joad family buries Grandpa, who had died during the arduous journey from Oklahoma to California. Tom Joad, played by Henry Fonda, takes a page from the family Bible, writes down the circumstances of Grandpa’s death, and places the page on the body before burial, worrying that someone will find it and think Grandpa had been murdered.
When Route 66 was altered in the early 1930s, the bridge was constructed as an alternative to a privately owned tollway. Owing to its length and the thirty-eight spans that support it, the structure was considered an engineering marvel of its time. More recently, though, it has fallen into disrepair. In 2016, Preservation Oklahoma included the bridge on its annual list of the state’s most endangered places.
What’s the name of the bridge, and where is it located?
Mail entries with name and address to “Lost and Found”, P.O. Box 1468, Oklahoma City, OK 73101 or email to Leighona.Bernstein@travelok.com. Last issue’s contest featured the Shawnee Milling Company in Shawnee.