Red River Bridge

North span first free bridge across Red River erected 1931, replaced 1996. Oklahoma Gov. “alfalfa” Bill Murray defied federal court injunction, plowed up the road to “toll” bridge, forcing opening of “free” bridge linking Texas and Oklahoma Hwy’s. Gov. Murray came personally to oversee the bridge opening, OK National Guard vs TX Rangers. Colbert Historical Society, Colbert Park board, Oklahoma historical Society 227 – 1997
Colbert City Park, northwest side of town on Timothy Dr., Colbert, Oklahoma
Exploring Oklahoma History

* Image from Google Search

Texas Historical Marker: 1931 Free Bridge Controversy
Located US 69/75 at Texas Travel Information Center, 1 mi. S of the Red River

As a result of late 1920s legislation in Texas and Oklahoma, the two states cooperated on a project to build free highway bridges spanning the Red River to accommodate rapidly increasing highway traffic. One of these bridges was near Colbert Bridge, a toll bridge descended from the mid-19th century Colbert's Ferry. When the Free Bridge was ready to open in early July 1931, the Red River Bridge Company, operators of Colbert Bridge, obtained a federal restraining order against the opening of the Free Bridge until contractual payments had been made to compensate the company for their anticipated loss. Texas Governor Ross Sterling complied, but Oklahoma Governor William Murray, who was not a party to the contract between the Texas Highway Commission and the Red River Bridge Company, asked Governor Sterling to join him in protesting the injunction. Sterling refused. Murray ordered the removal of barricades erected by the Texas Highway Commission. For twelve hours, traffic flowed freely across the bridge. By July 17, Texas Rangers guarded the southern side. Oklahoma highway crews rerouted traffic from Colbert Bridge to Preston Bridge several miles away and dismantled the approach to the Colbert Bridge from Oklahoma. As tensions came close to breaking in the summer heat, the injunction was suspended; the Texas Rangers opened the bridge on Labor Day, 1931. It served until 1995, when it was replaced by a new structure. A portion of the Free Bridge was placed in a park in Colbert, Oklahoma, about two miles north. (1998)