NACOGDOCHES Co., TX (KTRE) – The old Goodman Bridge has been moved. Monday morning crews lifted the iron span from County Road 789 onto a trailer and carried it to its new temporary home at the Nacogdoches Expo Center.
Historic value, nostalgia, or simply the engineering of moving the bridge across three counties sparked people's interest. "It makes me very sad. Just like losing an old friend," observed local resident Diane Ecker. "That's what makes this such a neat place down here, is the old bridge."
Ecker's most heartbreaking memory is the day she spread her 20 year old deceased son's ashes from the Goodman Bridge. For the people who live close to the Goodman Bridge this moving day takes on a special sentimental meaning. There are so many anniversaries, weddings and some things that cannot be reported that have happened on the bridge.
All the memories began in 1929 when the Goodman Bridge was installed to connect Nacogdoches and Cherokee counties. Its massive beams held together by rivets, not a weld. Today, a safer more modern bridge will take its place. Jed Henson could not stand to see of the last Warrant Truss bridges in Texas turned into scrap iron, so he volunteered his services to have it moved to Nacogdoches. "We grew up here, going across it when we were kids when were first getting our driver's license and we fished here all our lives and we enjoyed it so much."
I was baptized right up above it," recalls local resident Joan Mooman. She attempts to rationalize the change. "I know it had to go, but I sure do hate to see it."
The Goodman Bridge was taken into Cherokee County on FM 1911, south on Highway 69 through Wells, then turning onto Highway 7 it returned to Nacogdoches County and even crossed the Angelina River again before arriving to the city. It will receive a facelift before moving to its permanent resting place at Pecan Park.
Monday's move marks a sense of closure for Nacogdoches County officials. For at least five years and right up to the day of the move they debated, discussed and planned the old bridge's future. The Goodman Bridge was built by Austin Bridge Company out of Dallas taking travelers over the Angelina River between Nacogdoches and Cherokee counties for 83 years.
Nacogdoches preservationists rallied to save the bridge. The City of Nacogdoches and the county are partnering to preserve the historic structure.