Hometown Spotlight: Bridgeport

Photo by Kaleb Elledge

With a unique history tied to New York and California and with a present assortment of attractions and welcome smiles from its citizens, the North Texas town of Bridgeport encompasses a charm that is sure to pull you in and make you want to never leave.

The town of Bridgeport is located along Highway 114 in Wise County, just five miles south of Chico, 11 miles west of Decatur and 27 miles of Jacksboro. It is home to more than 6,000 residents according to the 2010 census.

Bridgeport’s beginnings, believe it or not, can be traced back to New York and one individual who made the brave journey from up north to the Lone Star State.

That man was surveyor William Hudson Hunt, who trekked to Texas in 1836, tasked with locating the site of the new Texas Capitol building. Hunt, who became the official surveyor of Texas public and school lands, eventually settled in Wise County.

Around this time, California was threatening succession from the Union if a faster mail route did not become available. John Butterfield, also from New York, started a new passage from Missouri to San Francisco, which brought the Butterfield Overland Mail through Wise County.

However, the original route often took carriers through a flooded river in Jacksboro.

In 1860, Hunt was granted a charter to build a bridge across the West Fork of the Trinity River, located one mile south of the present town, creating a bypass to the flooding. However, the wooden bridge was only in use for a few months when the American Civil War broke out. Abandoned, the bridge eventually collapsed into the river.

To read more, pick up a copy of the March/April issue of LiveIt magazine.