Created By: Wichita History Walk
Early on, there was a need for a bridge to connect Douglas Avenue across the Arkansas River. In 1872, the Wichita Bridge Company was formed and charged a toll to travel the bridge. This didn’t sit well with citizens, and complaints mounted. Many people chose to ford the river rather than pay the toll! Smaller bridges were established to the north and south to circumvent the toll bridge at Douglas.
For five years, the bridge caused problems. A letter to the Eagle in 1873 noted that produce was being diverted to Hutchinson because of the high costs of the bridge toll. Since there was a short span of time during the year that the river couldn’t be forded, the bridge came to be known as a poor investment. The problem was resolved in 1877 when the city and county joined forces to purchase the bridge for $5,000, each paying half. This ended the toll problem and traffic now flowed freely above the Arkansas.
(If you're ENDING the Delano tour here, you'll want to cross the street to begin the Historic Downtown Tour.)
This point of interest is part of the tour: Wild West Delano