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BRIDGEPORT

Bridgeport is located in the upper northeastern quarter of Caddo County, just south of the Canadian River and Blaine County line. The farming community was one-half mile north of U.S. Highway 66 (Historic Route 66) and remains just north of Interstate 40, about forty-six miles west of Oklahoma City. The town of Bridgeport, named for the toll bridge and store located northeast three-fourths of a mile, began in 1901 on a federal townsite and incorporated in 1902.

Bridgeport's economy has long been based on agriculture, particularly wheat and cotton. The town was on a main east-west line of the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway with easy connections to primary north-south lines. When the community refused to pay to insure that the railroad would not construct any switches nearby, two switches were built in the vicinity, causing the Bridgeport population to shift toward the west side of their township. As a result, Bridgeport lost residents to the new switch communities. Despite this, a branch line was built between Bridgeport and Anadarko to the south in 1901-1902. Early businesses in the town included three banks and numerous small business houses. By the mid-1930s the town supported twenty-five commercial enterprises, including a large cotton gin, two grain elevators, two hotels, a bank, and a lumber yard.

In 1907 the population of Bridgeport numbered 462. Three years later the number of residents dropped to 426. Continuing to decline, by 1920 the population stood at 294. Nearly regaining its earlier size, the community included 432 inhabitants in 1930. The harsh years of the Great Depression reduced Bridgeport to 302. Over the next six decades the community remained under 200. The number of residents ranged from a from a high of 199 in 1950 to a low of 109 in 2000.

During the first three decades of the twentieth century Bridgeport had several newspapers. The longest running was the Bridgeport News, which published between 1905 and 1927. Other local newspapers that ran for more than a year included the News-Tribune (1904-1905), the Bridgeport Grit (1907-1910), and the Bridgeport Sentinel (1910-1913). The Bridgeport Banner (1914) and Bridgeport Enterprise (1919) published for less than year, the Banner for only two issues.

SEE ALSO: SETTLEMENT PATTERNS.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: "Bridgeport," Vertical File, Research Division, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City. "Caddo County," Vertical File, Research Division, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City. Mildred Cole, et al., comps., A History of Caddo County (N.p.: N.p., 1955-1956).

Cynthia Savage

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