Milam County Historical Commission - Milam County, TX
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Milam County Historical Commission
Milam County, Texas
Milam County Historical Commission
Milam County, Texas
               Cemetery Association Asks To Acquire Bryant Station Bridge
                          by Jay Ermis - Telegram Staff Writer
                           Temple Daily Telegram - 2013-12-22

                           Confusion over who owns the bridge

CAMERON - The Bryant Station Cemetery Association would like to get possession of a historic bridge in Milam County, but first an important question must be answered: Who owns the bridge?

The transfer of ownership of the 104-year-old Bryant Station Bridge to the Cemetery Association depends on whether the county owns the bridge.

The steel truss bridge at Bryant’s Station Crossing on County Road 106 near Buckholts was built in 1909 at a cost of $5,980. It spans the Little River. A concrete bridge was built a couple hundred feet west of the original bridge in 2003.

The old bridge, which was 333 feet long and 15 feet wide and consisted of a 200-foot camelback through truss, became a pedestrian-only bridge after the new bridge was built, said David Galbreath, a historian on Milam County’s steel bridges.

The old bridge has been sealed off on both ends with heavy fencing and continues to deteriorate, reducing its safety as a pedestrian bridge.

Milam resident Kinder Chambers asked County Commissioners Court at its December meeting to deed the bridge to the Bryant Station Cemetery Association, which wants to move it and make it a part of the road leading to the cemetery, “uniting two pieces of Milam County history.”

The cemetery is a third of a mile down CR 106 and three miles from Buckholts.

Chambers said the cemetery and the road leading to it belong to the county and “both of these are already on our property.”

County Judge Dave Barkemeyer asked if the county owns the bridge and if it could legally deed the bridge to the Cemetery Association.

Assistant County Attorney John Redington said he was unsure if the county owns it and said he was still looking into ownership of the bridge.

The court voted 4-1 to transfer the bridge, with Precinct 4 Commissioner Jeff Muegge voting against it. “We need to make sure it is ours,” Muegge said.

He said renovation of the Worley Bridge near Apache Pass is costing $1.27 million to refurbish from start to finish.

“I’m not sure if it’s a TxDOT bridge,” Barkemeyer said. “I think it’s an abandoned bridge.”

He did not want to table a vote on the issue.

In making the motion for a vote, Barkemeyer said, “If in fact Milam County owns the bridge, the Commissioners Court would deed the bridge to the Cemetery Association with the restriction that it only be used as a historical site in conjunction with the cemetery and cannot be cut up for scrap. If used for any other purpose, it would revert back to the county.”

Bob Colwell, spokesman for the Texas Department of Transportation’s Bryan District, said Thursday, “All I know is that TxDOT does not own the bridge.”

Dr. Lucille Estelle of the County Historical Commission said the bridge “is such an important part of our history. I would think a long time before making a decision to lose something that is part of history. Before you move the bridge think about preserving it. Does the Cemetery Association have the money to preserve it?”

Chambers said the cemetery group does not have funds to move the bridge or to renovate it, but would try to raise the funds.

He asked the court to remove a major liability from the county by conveying the bridge and attendant responsibility to the Cemetery Association.

Resolving the issue depends on if the county owns the bridge.

All Credit for this article
goes to Jay Ermis
and the
Temple Daily Telegram