A Different Kind of Wrangler

As I was working on my current manuscript this past weekend, I found myself needing to do a research check on the role of a wrangler on a 19th century ranch. I knew they dealt with horses, but I didn’t know if the term wrangler only applied during cattle drives or if it would be applicable in a ranch setting. So I pulled up Google prepared for a quick, fast-checking search.

Well, at first all I found were Wrangler brand jeans. Not exactly what I was looking for. So I added “19th century” to my search about what a wrangler did. That search still didn’t pull up what I was looking for, but what it pulled up instead was an incredible story about a woman breaking academic barriers in mathematics. With a daughter who graduated with degrees in Math and Computer Science who is working on a PhD in a field dominated by men, I was immediately intrigued and dove head first d own the rabbit hole.

Cambridge University was considered the center of academic achievement and learning during Victorian times. Those who excelled at Cambridge went on to have amazing careers and were considered some of the greatest minds of the age. All of whom were, of course, men. During the Victorian era, the predominant medical opinion was that women were delicate, fragile creatures, unable to achieve greatness in academics or athletics. For a woman to dedicate herself to strenuous study or exercise was to run the risk of mental illness or sterility. Medical experts believed that the body could only handle a set amount of development and since a woman’s reproductive system was so much more complicated than a man’s if she diverted too much energy to academic study, her development in other areas would suffer. Not only that, but women’s skulls were smaller than men’s, so there brains were therefore smaller and unable to comprehend the complexities of high academia.

Girton College Cricket Team 1899

Near the end of the 1800’s however, the suffrage movement had picked up momentum and more and more women were seeking opportunities for higher learning. Women’s colleges began to appear, including Girton, a college associated with Cambridge. A handful of women proved to have very capable, bright minds. One such woman, Agnata Ramsey, even managed to take top marks on the Classics exams in 1887, besting all of the men from Cambridge. While a remarkable achievement, this accomplishment did little to sway the men at the time to consider women their intellectual equals. You see, women had been achieving similar scores to men in many academic subjects for years. All save one–mathematics. Men always placed higher in this exam. Victorian-era scholars believed women’s minds incapable of the complex logic required in advanced mathematics since everyone knew they a woman’s nature was based on emotion.

Enter Philippa Fawcett.

Philippa was the only child of Henry and Millicent Fawcett, two people who were extraordinary in their own rights. Millicent was a leader in the women’s suffrage movement and Henry, though blinded at age 25, became a minister in the British government. Such forward-thinking parents no doubt aided Philippa’s rise to greatness. She showed an early talent for mathematics, and her parents eagerly aided her growth. She earned a place at Newnham College (another women’s college associated with Cambridge) and took courses in pure and applied mathematics at University College London, a more progressive school that allowed females to take courses alongside males. Despite access to collegiate coursework, nothing could adequately prepare her for the extremely rigorous 8 days of exams known as the Cambridge math tripos. This exam was created to be nearly impossible. Those who did exceptionally well managed to complete 2 of the 12 papers. Results of the test were announced in numerical order. The group with the top scores were known as Wranglers. And the top scorer for the year was known as the Senior Wrangler. Female students from Cambridge’s sister schools of Girton and Newnham were allowed to sit for the same exams as the men. However, their ranking was kept separate. When the results were read, they would be announced as falling between the men’s ranking. So if a women scored higher than the 18th position and lower than the 17th, her result would be “Between the 17th and 18th Optimes (Optimes were the group below Wranglers).

The man who earned the position of Senior Wrangler was guaranteed a stellar career in academia and a great deal of prestige. Students would hire tutors and study up to 20 hours a day for months. As you can imagine, this led to health problems and mental breakdowns. In 1890, when Philippa sat for the exam, she took a much more measured approach. She worked with a tutor but kept to a strict schedule, rising at 8:00 am every day and never staying up later than 11:00 pm. She would study for 6 hours a day. Not only was she an orderly, self-disciplined person by nature, but she was well aware that she was being scrutinized by society within and without academia. She was determined to give them no fodder that could be used to denigrate the role of women in higher learning.

On June 7, 1890 the results from the Cambridge math tripos were announced and the world erupted. When the women’s results were read, Philippa Fawcett’s name came last, and her result – Above the Senior Wrangler! She scored 13% higher than the top man. The news spread worldwide and challenged traditional beliefs of what a female could achieve. Her remarkable accomplishment paved the way for equal opportunities for women at institutions of higher learning around the world.

It took significant time for change to reach the hallowed halls of Cambridge, however. They didn’t allow women to pursue degrees alongside men until 1948. (In the United States, Yale did not admit women until 1969 and Harvard until 1977.) Thankfully, Philippa lived long enough to see this day. She died at age 80 after a long career teaching at Newnham College. Her death came one month after Cambridge finally opened its doors to women, and 58 years after her society-rocking achievement of being ranked Above the Senior Wrangler.

What area of gender equality are you most thankful for today?

 

Dickens in Texas

The two most powerful words in a writer’s vocabulary are: What if? When it came time for me to brainstorm a new Christmas novella idea, my mind turned to the classics and those powerful two words – what if . . .

What if . . . the Dickens classic A Christmas Carol took place in 1890’s Texas instead of early 1800’s London?

What if . . . Scrooge’s transformation story was a romance?

What if . . . there was a London, TX? Oh, wait. There is!

What happened next was a whirlwind of fun that is now available as A Texas Christmas Carol the first story in the new collection – Under the Texas Mistletoe.

I had so much fun with names of all my characters, paying homage to the classic tale. There’s even a dog named Humbug.

Meet Evan Beazer and Felicity Wiggins (named in honor of the cheerful Fezziwig).

Our Scrooge never stood a chance when the tenderhearted, cheerful Felicity set her sights on him.

~Excerpt~

“Don’t worry,” Felicity said with a soft chuckle, “I won’t let Mr. Beazer trample over me. My backbone is strong enough to withstand a few snaps and growls.”

Margaret led the way to the stairs leading out of the church basement, tossing a frown over her shoulder. “It’s your time, I suppose. If you choose to waste it, that’s your prerogative. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you. Evan Beazer might be the wealthiest man in town, but he’s a Scrooge of the worst order. Not only does he refuse to donate to any of our causes, but he insults anyone with the temerity to approach him.”

She paused at the top of the stairway and braced a hand against the wall as she turned to face Felicity. “He called me a blood-sucking leech and threatened to have me brought up on trespassing charges should I ever darken his door again.” Margaret, her face usually placid and lovely, scrunched her nose as if the memory were so rancid she could smell it. “The gall of him. He might dutifully leave his tithe in the collection plate every Sunday to keep his conscience clean, but he refuses to donate so much as a penny to any cause beyond that obligation, no matter how worthy. He’s a tight-fisted, coldhearted man. Completely void of compassion. Why, you could wring him like a dishrag, and not a single drop of Christian charity would fall out. His soul is as dry as a bone.”

Mrs. Talley was a dynamo when it came to getting things done, a blessing to any committee she served upon, but she had definite opinions about how things should go and didn’t react well when thwarted.

Felicity patted her arm. “There is nothing the least bit leech-like about you, Margaret. You probably just caught him on a bad day.”

The deacon’s wife arched a brow. “Every day is a bad day for Evan Beazer.”

Not every day. Felicity ducked her head, recalling one day in particular where Mr. Beazer had been in rare, heroic form.

Pushing the distracting thought aside, Felicity winked at her friend as she marched past. “I recognize the challenge he presents, but I’m determined to try anyway. With the passing of dear Mrs. Humbolt this year, our donation total is down by a third. I can suffer through a few insults if it means more shoes and winter coats for the children. Besides, forewarned is forearmed. Thanks to you, I know what kind of reception to expect, so I can plan accordingly. And believe it or not, I can be rather devious when I put my mind to it.”

“You? Devious?” Margaret shook her head, a huff of a laugh escaping. “Felicity, you don’t have a dishonest bone in your body.”

“Oh, I don’t plan any trickery,” Felicity said, turning to face Margaret while continuing to walk backward down the hall leading to the main sanctuary. “In fact, my strategy comes straight from scripture itself.”

“Really?”

Felicity nodded, a grin spreading across her face. “Remember the parable Jesus told about the man who kept knocking on his neighbor’s door in the middle of the night asking for bread in Luke 11? The neighbor kept trying to turn him away, but the man persisted, and eventually he got his bread. I plan to employ the same technique.” Mischief swirled in her belly, stirring up an excitement she couldn’t quite contain. “I’m going to pester him into cooperation.”

Margaret let out a full laugh. “If anyone can do it, it’s you.”

Felicity prayed she was right. Not just for the children’s sake, but for Mr. Beazer himself. The man never smiled. How awful it must be to be so miserable! She couldn’t imagine a world void of happiness. But then, she’d been blessed with a cheerful family who laughed and teased and actively looked for reasons to celebrate. Mr. Beazer had no one meaningful in his life beyond a handful of local staff and a conglomeration of distant employees. The man needed a strong dose of joy in his life, and she was prepared to hold his nose and force a spoonful of medicinal Christmas cheer down his throat, if necessary.

 

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | ChristianBook
(Christian Book version contains exclusive bonus short story!)

What are your favorite classic Christmas stories?
If you could change the setting or characters in one of them, how would you change it?

Wild West Stamps

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Plan to mosey on over to your local post office to round up some fabulous new western postage stamps. Not only are these limited edition stamps awesome because of their iconic western design, but the artist who designed them lives in my hometown and teaches at Abilene Christian University where I work!
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I can’t tell you how much I geeked out over this announcement in our university news last month. Ryan Feerer teaches in our graphic design program and for the last 2 1/2 years, he has been perfecting these stamp designs that include a cowboy hat, belt buckle, boot with spur, and pearl-snap shirt.
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Not only do these stamps make my cowboy-loving heart happy, but I love all the little details he incorporated into the designs.  Small plants, animals, western flourishes, and the sun to frame each western wear illustration. Note the rattlesnakes with the hat and two different cacti variations along with plenty of prairie roses.
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The postal service has a Citizen Stamp Advisory Committee that is in charge of coming up with themes for specialized stamps. One of the themes selected for 2021 was western wear. Ryan Feerer did his undergraduate work at ACU but received his MFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. (Are you hearing the Pace Picante cowboys yelling, “New York City?” Ha!) Well, going to the big city paid off, for it was there that he met Gail Anderson who was one of the people who recommended Ryan for the job.
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The first day of issue for these stamps was July 23 here in Abilene, TX. If you want to order the stamps directly, you can do so here.
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I have my stamps!
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Do you like buying special stamps to use on your mail, or do you stick with the tried and true flag?
I have a few wildflower stamps to use up, but I’ll be using these for the rest of the year!
Don’t forget our fun P&P Birthday Bash coming up on Friday.
We’re giving away a passel of Amazon gift cards and playing fun cowboy words games.
You won’t want to miss!

Texas Time Machine

I love stepping back in time. Through the pages of a book, the visual delight of a period movie or television series, looking at old pictures, digging into research, or even working on a craft that has been practiced for hundreds of years. There is something about the past that is just so romantic and enticing to me.

It probably comes as no surprise, then, that when my daughter and I met up in Waco for a girl’s weekend a few months ago, we spent our time stepping through as many time portals as we could. In a previous post I shared about the Waco Suspension Bridge that was built to allow cattle to be driven over the Brazos (you can find that post here), but today, I’d like to share some photos from my favorite visit of the the day – The East Terrace House Museum.

The house was built in 1872 on the east bank of the Brazos River. J.W. Mann built the house for his wife Cemira in the style of an Italianate Villa to please her eastern sensibilities.

The tour started off in perfect style when the door was opened by our docent who was dressed in period costume. She is a history student from Baylor working on her master’s degree, and she was the perfect hostess.

This was Mr. Mann’s study/library and was situated immediately to the left of the front door.

The first room we toured was the library, which of course became one of my favorites. Reading by a fire with plenty of natural light in what was probably the quietest room of the house.

Passing through the doorway with our guide, we came to the ladies sitting room. A larger space with more furniture to allow one to sit with friends and family while plying a needle or writing some letters. It is hard to tell from this photograph, but the desk and chair in the corner that belonged to Mrs. Mann seemed better suited to a child. She was such a tiny woman, that even with the full skirts of her day, her chairs were more comparable to those for children than adults.

Next we came to the elaborate dining room. The table is set with the family china, and each place setting has its own salt cellar. They preserved so many family heirlooms in this marvelous home.

The next set of rooms we came to were large, open double parlors that could be used for all manner of entertaining. These were matched on the second story with a long ballroom. But on the main floor, the highlight was the nook on the far end that created a music room with Cemira’s harp and piano.

I mentioned earlier how small Mrs. Mann was. Do you see the open window in this picture? She was small enough to use these openings as doors and would simply walk through them whenever she chose to go outside.

At the back of the house was the kitchen. When the home was originally built, the kitchen would have been detached from the house, but as time passed and things were modernized, it joined with the main house.

At the back of the kitchen were a set of stairs, and at the top of these stairs was the bathroom that would serve the family whose bedrooms were situated on this second floor. The Mann home was the first to have running water in Waco, although initially, the water only ran one direction–out. Water would still have to be heated on the kitchen stove and carted upstairs, but when the bath was over, the water would drain out. Not too much longer, the Waco Waterworks were built right across the street from East Terrace, allowing full-service plumbing.

This bedroom was a guest suite situated off of the ballroom. Ladies could use it as a retiring room to rest or repair their hair or dress. Or if the party lasted long into the night, it could serve as an overnight respite. It is not visible in this photo, but there was also a Murphey bed along the wall on the left. When put up, it looked like a fancy wood panel with a full-length mirror attached. But if called upon, it could be lowered to allow more space for guests to sleep.

There was another bedroom through the doorway.

I saved my favorite place in the house for last. This staircase let up to the tower room that offered magnificent views of the Brazos and surrounding areas. But it is this nook tucked beneath the staircase that captured my heart. A small little sewing nook with natural lighting and trunk to hold supplies. I would love to convert this into a cozy reading nook with shelves full of my favorite historical novels close at hand. I think I’ll keep the sewing machine, though, for ambiance.

Do you enjoy touring historic homes or perhaps collecting antiques?
Which room shown above would you choose to incorporate into your own home?

Bookish Crafts

One of my favorite crafts is cross stitching. I’ve been doing it since I was a teenager, and I find it to be very similar to writing. You start with a blank canvas, follow some guidelines, add color and creativity, and eventually a piece of art takes shape.

I make small projects like Christmas ornaments as gifts, and my larger projects that often take years to complete become decorations for my home. Recently, I finished a matched pair of medieval maidens – The Reader and The Musician. I gave these to my daughter for her 23rd birthday. She will be moving into a new apartment in August, and they are something of a housewarming gift. The first one was finished in 2017, and I didn’t get around to finishing the second one until this year. These are special because both my daughter and I love reading, we both played the flute, and we both love historical things. It was the perfect trifecta!

Cross stitching is very easy, and I find it quite relaxing. I often have a project going while my hubby and I watch TV, or it can be great to do while listening to an audiobook. It’s like paint by numbers but with colored thread (floss) instead of paint. If you can follow directions and make tiny Xs, you can cross stitch.

I get especially excited about patterns that allow me to mix my love of reading with my love of stitching. So today, I’m giving away a pair of prizes.

First – A hand-crafted (by me!) bookmark that combines my two favorite past times – reading and stitching.

Second – An easy, beginner-level kit to let you try your hand at your own cross-stitch creation.

Giveaway!

For a chance to win my handmade bookmark
along with the nostalgic and adorable honey bear kit,
leave a comment about your favorite craft.

And if you are a fellow stitcher, let me know!

The Heart’s Charge – My Favorite Scene

Want a pair of ruggedly handsome Horsemen to charge into your life for a few hours and get your heart pumping with adventure and swoon-worthy romance? Let me introduce you to Mark Wallace and Jonah Brooks – the heroes of The Heart’s Charge, my latest release. These men are seasoned ex-cavalry officers with a calling to help those in need. Even if those who need them are homeless children society deems beneath their notice. And when they team up with a pair of passionate women who run the local foundling home, more than one heart will be charging into the fray.

When I first starting researching this story, I knew I wanted it to be set in a small town that was relatively secluded. Enter Kingsland, TX – a town surrounded on three sides by water. Kingsland was founded at the place where the Colorado and Llano Rivers meet, and during the time period for my story, the only way to get into town from the east was to cross a bridge built for the railroad.

I love to study old town maps when I am setting a story in a real place, but Kingsland, TX was never incorporated, so I had a difficult time finding any historic maps of the area. I reached out to the Chamber of Commerce, and they were kind enough to point me in the direction of local historical John Hallowell. Mr. Hallowell generously shared his research with me, including some photographs and personal recollections of that railroad bridge being used for pedestrian traffic. School children crossed it to get to school. People traveling from Burnet County would leave their horses or wagons on the Burnet side then cross the bridge to conduct their business in Kingsland. All of these facts fueled my imagination as I plotted.

However, the most colorful piece of history I uncovered was the fact that people vividly remembered mistiming their crossing on this bridge, and having to make dramatic climbs onto the support piers in order to avoid being hit by a train. I knew I had to use this tidbit at some point in my novel.

Railroad Bridge from the Kingsland Side. The stone pillars are from the original bridge that was built in 1892.

I visited Kingsland during the course of writing the book, and I saw the bridge in question. It still stands today, though a few additional concrete pillars have been added over the years for extra support. Note how there is no railing or trestles or anything to add stability for the people who crossed this bridge. And the Colorado River is no trickling stream. Falling in would spell disaster. Yet school children crossed it every day! I was brave enough to walk out on the bridge to the edge of of the shore, but that was as far as I dared. I had no desire to act out the scene I was plotting in my head, especially since I had no idea if the tracks were still in use.

Bridge from the Burnet Side. I walked a few feet out on the bridge from this side.

Here is the start of the scene that was inspired by this bridge research, a scene that would become one of my favorites in the entire novel.

Katherine clutched Mark’s arm. It didn’t matter if Alice could recognize the man or not. She was putting herself in his path, and if he spotted her, she could be taken, just like the others.

“We’ve got to get to her. Now!”

Mark nodded but took the time to shake the porter’s hand in thanks. Katherine didn’t. Leaving the men behind, she hoisted her skirt above her ankles and sprinted across the platform and down into the street. People turned to stare as she raced past, but she paid them no mind. Her only thought was to follow the railroad tracks and get to the bridge.

Mark called out to her, but she didn’t look back. He’d catch up soon enough. Nor did she hesitate to mount the tracks and start across the bridge. People crossed this bridge on foot every day. Heavens, children from Hoover’s Valley walked across it every morning to come to school in Kingsland.

Once on the bridge, she hiked her skirt up a bit more and watched the placement of each hurried step. There were no railings and no trestles to protect her from falling into the Colorado River below should she lose her balance.

“Kate!” Mark called, much nearer now. “Stop!”

She lifted her head to judge how far she’d come. Almost halfway. And there, across the river, she spied a pair of horses at the end of the bridge. A small child in boy’s clothing moved between them. Alice! Katherine’s heart soared.

“I see her!” She halted momentarily and glanced over her shoulder, her excitement building.

Mark stood on the tracks at the edge of the bridge, waving her toward him. “Come back!” he yelled.

Go back? No. They had to go forward. Get to Alice before she was lost to them again. She shook her head and resumed picking her way across the bridge. Faster now. Nearly at a run. Alice was on the other side. In danger. Nothing else mattered.

But two-thirds of the way across, she realized she was wrong. Something else did matter. Something barreling toward her with such speed that the tracks convulsed beneath her feet. The deep, haunting moan of a train whistle pierced her ears and her heart.

The 6:50 from Burnet. Heading straight for her.

Giveaway!

I’ll be giving away 2 copies of The Heart’s Charge today.

For a chance to win, leave a comment about a favorite bridge-related memory
or about a bridge you would love to visit one day.

 

 

Texas Ranger Museum

One of the highlights of my recent trip to Waco with my daughter was visiting the Texas Ranger Museum. If you love westerns, this is the place to go. The guns alone were spectacular. I don’t own guns, nor do I like them outside of my stories, but seeing these centuries-old weapons in pristine condition was a researcher’s dream. I especially loved seeing the guns I’ve described in my stories close-up.
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Reading the stories of the early Rangers and their amazing bravery and skill made me feel like Matthew Hanger and his Horsemen would’ve felt right at home.
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The most interesting tidbit I learned was that most 19th century Rangers did not wear badges. The state did not provide them, so a Ranger would have to purchase his own. Instead, a Ranger carried his credentials in paper form – A Warrant of Authority and Descriptive List. It provided proof of his authority along with a physical description. I couldn’t help but wonder what could have happened if a Ranger’s credentials were stolen. Especially if he were killed and unable to report it. Could make for an interesting plot twist in a book someday.
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Scattered throughout the museum were a collection of small bronze statues depicting western scenes and lawmen. I loved these! I snapped pictures of three of my favorites. The first is a Texas Ranger standing proud and ready to do battle. The second made me smile. It’s titled Free Legal Advice and it shows a man on horseback stopping to jaw with a professional man in a buggy. The third is my favorite. Nothing touches my heart more than a tough man holding a baby. In this statue titles Compassion, a man in buckskin cradles an infant. It makes my mind whirl with story possibilities. And reminds me a bit of my upcoming story The Heart’s Charge, where two of my Horsemen find a newborn and have to deliver her on horseback to a foundling home several miles away.
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Me with my dangerous finger pistols posing with a hero of the west.

There were more modern displays in the museum as well, starting with Frank Hamer, the Texas Ranger who tracked down and killed Bonnie and Clyde in the 1930s, and moving into contemporary times.

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Visiting this hall of fame made me think of all the old westerns I would watch growing up. Especially shows like the Rifleman. But it also made me think of the two most famous fictional ranger heroes.
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If you had to pick one favorite fictional ranger, which would you choose?
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A Bridge for 1000 Hooves

I love learning historical tidbits, and getting to see pieces of history still standing is even better. Last month, my daughter and I met in Waco for a girls getaway weekend. Now that Bethany is working on her PhD at Texas A&M, I don’t get to see her very often, so we started a tradition of getting together for a weekend each semester.

She loves history as much as I do, so we skipped the shopping at the Magnolia Silos in favor of touring historic homes and walking along the Brazos River to visit the Waco Suspension Bridge. Unfortunately, the bridge was closed to the public for refurbishment, but we still managed to get a few pictures.

What is really fascinating about this bridge, however, is it’s history. It wasn’t built for man, you see. It was built for cattle.

In the mid-1800s, cattle was king in Texas, and cattle drives along the Chisholm Trail were essential for bringing those cattle to market. However, crossing the Brazos River was a difficult endeavor. No bridges spanned this river across central Texas, so trail bosses had to find shallow places to cross. With the unpredictability of Texas weather, those places became moving targets. One of the most stable locations to ford was Waco.

At the Civil War, Texas granted a charter to a private company called the Waco Bridge Company and promised them a monopoly on transportation across the river for 25 years if they would build a bridge. No other bridge could be built within five miles. The company hired New York civil engineer Thomas M Giffith to begin plans for the bridge in 1868. Griffith was a skilled engineer, having designed the first bridge to span the Mississippi in 1854. Griffith opted to build a suspension bridge and brought parts in by oxcart. His bridge was completed in 1870, and at the time was the longest suspension bridge west of the Mississippi.

The Waco Suspension Bridge wasn’t only used for cattle drives, of course. It became the main crossing point for travelers of all sorts and allowed Waco to become an economic capital for central Texas. Not only did the bridge bring merchants, farmers, and ranchers into Waco, but the bridge itself became an economic boom. The charter granted the Waco Bridge Company permission to charge a toll. Pedestrians paid five cents, and those on horseback or in carriages were charged ten cents. Any loose cattle or livestock cost five cents per head. The Waco Bridge Company reported that it made approximately $25,000 each year in collected tolls and paid off its mortgage in the first year of operation.

Tolls were collected from a bucket that would be lowered from one of its towers. If you look at the bottom right of the above photograph, the brick section with steps leading outside was where the toll keeper and his family  lived. As one would expect, this toll quickly became unpopular. The county eventually bought the bridge for $75,000 and then sold it to the city for $1 with an agreement in place that the city would eliminate the toll and maintain the structure.

Eventually, the monopoly time frame expired and other bridges sprang up. Bethany and I saw remnants of a railroad bridge platform as well as a trestle bridge that was built in 1901. The trestle bridge had a section open to foot traffic, so we walked across that bridge and got some lovely shots of the river.

With all the traffic coming across the suspension bridge, enterprising local merchants figured out how to take advantage of this prime real estate. As you can see in the picture below, large advertisements hung from the the brick walls.

In 1913, citizens decided they no longer cared for the unattractive bridge since other options were available and asked for it to be torn down. Thankfully, the city preserved this historic bridge, choosing to beautify it by stuccoing over the brick and replacing the wooden trusses with steel. Cars were permitted over the bridge until 1971. Since then, it’s been open to pedestrian traffic only.

In 2010, however, cattle once again made their way across the Waco Suspension Bridge. During the Chisholm Trail Festival, cowboys herded 40 longhorns across the bridge to commemorate this fascinating piece of Texas history.

Do you find old bridges romantic or nerve-wracking?

Do you have any historic bridges in your area?