Marker Cellar Winery
Don & Ora Majka
Bridgeport Historical Society
If you want to sponsor, don't hesitate to contact Teena Peck at City Hall, 900 Thompson Street, or call 940-683-3600 to submit your $150 donation and form. Donators will be recognized on our Thank You Board at the October 150th City of Bridgeport Celebration!
The City of Bridgeport Celebrates 150 Years!
The settlement of West Fork, later known as Bridgeport, began in 1860 when William H. Hunt was granted a charter from the West Fork Bridge Company to build a bridge across the West Fork of the Trinity River.
The bridge was once located approximately one and a half-miles southwest of present-day Bridgeport City Hall. Where it once stood on Farm to Market Road 920 now boasts a Texas State Historical Marker.
The bridge served as a route for the Butterfield Overland Mail stage route. However, it lasted only a few months, between August 1860 through March 1861. After the American Civil War began, the Butterfield Overland Mail route was no longer used, and the original wooden bridge was abandoned, eventually deteriorated, and finally collapsed into the river.
Shortly following the collapse, Charles D. Cates built an iron toll bridge. Soon after the toll bridge was built, coal was discovered nearby while drilling a water well. Coal mining brought immigrant families to the area, making the community lively and diverse. The toll bridge became a prominent fixture situated at the entrance of the settlement of West Fork; it was only logical to conclude upon the City's incorporation of a local government in 1873, the City derived its namesake from the asset and was renamed and would now be known as Bridgeport.
Upon the City's incorporation, the history of the Postal Service begins for its residents, and rumor is that it was a rather hectic affair. No one wanted the job!
However, on May 5, 1873, the Post Master General appointed Mr. Samuel I. Gibbs as the first official postmaster for the City of Bridgeport. Gibbs lasted only one year and two days on the job before the postal system discontinued and remained vacant for twenty months. Within the first decade, the postal service withstood two discontinuations of service until resuming in 1881 without any disruptions recorded until the present day and time.
The City of Bridgeport boasts a rich history of the coal mining industry dating back to 1860 until the last coal mine, the Singleton Coal Mine, was abandoned shortly after the start of 1941 World War II, and closed in 1942. After the coal mines closed, many were left without jobs, and others began work at the brick and rock quarry plants.
Bridgeport adapted and shifted the town to draw near to the Rock Island Railroad system, and in those times, if you were not near a railroad, your town indeed could not survive. Not only did the railway service the City of Bridgeport, in turn, but it also benefited the railroad system with shipments of coal, rock, and oil.
Bridgeport has advanced since those early days, but one thing is sure: the diversity within the community and the passion for preserving history remain vibrant and honored throughout Bridgeport.
We celebrate the history of how the original settlement of West Fork began in 1860 to the incorporation of Bridgeport in 1873 and how through becoming a municipality with only one paid employee, an Animal Control Officer, to industry change, war, hardships, growth, and modern-day advancements, Bridgeport has stood the test of time.
Bridgeport's past was celebrated in 1973 at the centennial event, which hundreds of members within the community and numerous organizations assisted the City of Bridgeport in hosting.
So now, fifty years later, we will again honor our heritage and host a modern-day 2023 rendition of events celebrating the 150 years of the City of Bridgeport becoming incorporated by celebrating with our citizens, county, and state in October during the three-day event.
The celebrations will begin on October 20 and conclude on October 22, 2023.
K. Smith, City of Bridgeport | Community Relations Manager