The Bridges of Hydro: The oldest, the present day, and the future are all on display

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HYDRO, OKLAHOMA -- If there is such a thing as retirement for a bridge this would be it.

The old steel truss that once served as the main entrance to Hydro spans and un-named creek at the city park and crosses a period of town history.

"It was the original bridge that connected Hydro to Route 66," says longtime resident Jim Mogg.

Mogg was just a kid when the town's main link to the outside world was Route 66 and this bridge was the only direct way to get there.

Most people don't notice the old section of road that winds down toward Deer Creek south of town where the old bridge used to sit, and where it used to wash out all the time.

Mogg says, "It was down low, close to the creek itself and it flooded frequently."

"Would it be close to a washout on a morning like this," asks a visitor during a heavy rain?

"Yeah," he laughs. "That's right."

It took a powerful state senator from Caddo County, Don Baldwin, to get a new bridge.

That was 1957.

The aptly named Baldwin Bridge took a higher path over the creek and lasted 60 years without a washout.

The old bridge moved on to span another creek until a decade ago.

The county might have scrapped it but for a few people like Mogg who remembered it and who thought it might be nice to save it at Hydro's city park.

"We moved it to the park," he says, "named it the Centennial Bridge, as it was the 100th anniversary of the Hydro Free Fair."

It took a little money to get it moved but townspeople raised it, and here it sits serving one last purpose for park strollers.

Mogg points out, "It connects the west side of the park to the east side of the park."

The Oklahoma Highway Department is busy when the sun shines replacing the old Baldwin Bridge with a new span over Deer Creek.

What will happen when it comes time to retire it?

Jim Mogg is leaving that decision to future, wet generations.

Mogg says the new bridge between the I-40 corridor and the town of Hydro should be finished this fall.

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