What’s in a name? Bridgeport, Texas

By Messenger Staff | Published Saturday, July 21, 2018
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In 1860, Colonel W.H. Hunt and others built a toll bridge across the Trinity River. The first bridge, which was made of cottonwood, soon crumbled into the river, and an iron bridge was constructed. The bridge was built to provide an easier river crossing for the Butterfield Overland Mail Trail, a stagecoach service that carried passengers and U.S. mail from St. Louis and Memphis to San Francisco.

The formation of the town began shortly after the building of the first bridge. The name Bridgeport seems to be a result of its being the town at the entry point of the bridge.

In 1857, the U.S. government authorized the postmaster general to contract for mail delivery from St. Louis, Mo., to San Fransisco, Calif. Prior to this, mail bound for the west coast traveled via ship across the Gulf of Mexico to Panama, freighted across the isthmus and taken by ship up the coast to various points in California. The scheduled time between the two towns was 25 days.

In March 1861, the government revoked its contract with the Butterfield Overland Stagecoach Company in anticipation of the coming Civil War.

Although the Butterfield stagecoach no longer used it, the toll bridge continued in use for some time.

When the Rock Island Railroad came close to the old town of Bridgeport in 1893, the town moved east to be closer to the line, but kept its name.

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