The Bridge That Saved Tulsa

Friday, March 13th 2009, 5:05 pm
By: News On 6

Margaret Stokes & Chris Howell

TULSA, OK -- It was known as the bridge that saved Tulsa. It was not funded by the city, but by three men who had a vision. Now a historical marker will commemorate what helped make Tulsa "The Oil Capitol of The World."

More than one hundred years ago oil was discovered on the west side of the Arkansas River.

At the time you could only cross the river by ferry or by braving the water.

When a bond issue to build a bridge failed in 1902, three men decided to get the job done themselves. Those men were M.L. Baird, J.D. Hagler and G.T. Williamson.

James Pinkerton is the grandson of Mr. J.D. Hagler. Hagler, Baird, and Williamson raised the money to build the first wagon bridge across the Arkansas. It opened January 4th 1904.

Although it no longer stands, when the water is low you can still see the old pilings sticking out of the water.

Nieta and James Pinkerton have proposed that a historical marker be placed near the current 11th street bridge which is close to where the wagon bridge once stood.

The Pinkertons proposed the idea to the River Parks Authority and it passed. For the couple, this has been a long time coming, and they are thrilled.

"We're really pleased that it's all come together so that we can give all the early Tulsans the recognition on how they really did allow Tulsa to grow and save Tulsa," said Nieta Pinkerton.