Milam County Historical Commission - Milam County, TX
Statue of Ben Milam at Milam County, TX Courthouse
Old Junior High School Building, Rockdale, TX
Milam County Courthouse - Cameron, TX
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Milam County Historical Commission
Milam County, Texas
                              Spanning Time, and the Gabriel
                     Renovated Worley Bridge Rededicated in Ceremony
                            By Mike Brown - Rockdale Reporter
                                     June 26, 2014

When the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) delivered a “death sentence” to the
landmark Worley Bridge just over three years ago, Milam County residents said “no way.”

Sunday’s rededication ceremony of the restored bridge was the result.

More than 150 persons gathered to watch land owner Kit Worley and Pct. 4 Commissioner
Jeff Muegge snip the ribbon that symbolized the 103-year-old, 272- foot iron truss
bridge, now open to light vehicular traffic.

Muegge said when the state condemned the bridge it gave Milam County six options, ranging
from demolition to restoration as a foot bridge.

MEETING - Worley said in a meeting of stakeholders (residents of the bridge area) and
county officials a plan was worked out to save the bridge.

County Road 428 was closed at the bridge in 2011. Two years later the structure was
lifted into a nearby field.

It was returned to its mooring this spring, County Road 428 was actually reopened about a
month ago with four families, who had been getting used to long trips to points south,
able to again use the bridge.

HELP - One of those involved, State Sen. Charles Schwertner, who spoke briefly Sunday.

Schwertner, who was a state representative in 2011, noted that upon hearing of the
bridge’s condemnation, he drove out to Apache Pass to see the structure for himself.

“It reminded me of bridges I used to see when driving out to farms and ranches,” he said.
“I knew this was something that needed to be preserved.”

The $1.2 million restoration cost was shared with the federal government contributing 80
percent, the state 10 percent and Milam County making up its 10 percent share with work
on “equivalent match” projects.

PROGRAM - Geri Burnett, vice-chair of the Milam County Historical Commission, gave the
welcome and James Brymer, pastor of the Conoley Community Church, gave the invocation.

Others on the program were VFW Post 6525, American Legion Carlyle Post 358, Dr. Lucile
Estell, Flower Gipson-Chamlee, Worley and Muegge. The bridge was built on land donated by
Frank Worley, grandfather of Kit.

All Credit for this article
goes to Mike Brown
and the
Rockdale Reporter

Letter of Thanks to Rockdale Reporter
                                      June 26, 2014

Dear editor,

Sunday, the Milam County Historical Commission sponsored the Rededication of the Worley Bridge.

The event was a great success because many, many people came to the celebration of the historically preserved bridge.

We’d like to thank everyone who came for showing their interest in the Worley Bridge and historic preservation in Milam County.

The Milam County Historical Commission’s mission is to protect, preserve and promote historic preservation. The Worley Bridge meets all of those mission aims.

Fortunately, the MCHC has the support of our County Judge, David Barkemeyer, and all of the County Commissioners as we work on historic preservation in Milam County.

So many people helped to make this event successful. We’d like to thank The Rockdale Reporter and KRXT for great publicity also, The Cameron Herald, KMIL and The Temple Telegram.

Thank you to the Rockdale Chamber of Commerce for help with the programs.

Thank you to VFW Post 6525 and American Legion Carlyle Post 358 for Posting of the Colors.

Thank you, Flower Gipson-Chamlee, for sharing your beautiful voice singing the National Anthem and to Pastor James Brymer of the Conoley Community Church for the Invocation.

We would like to thank Kit and Linda Worley for sharing Apache Pass with us for the rededication.

Thank you to Frank Felton for letting us step back in history, see him driving his 1931 Model A Roadster across Worley Bridge.

Thank you to Commissioner Jeff Muegge for all of his help. People stayed for lemonade and cookies under the beautiful old trees, visited and shared ‘Worley Bridge memories”, enjoying the cooling breeze on the hot afternoon. It was really a wonderful day.

Thank all of you who came and helped make the Worley Bridge Rededication so special.

Geri Burnett
Member, Milam County Historical Commission



Worley Bridge Re-Dedication - 2014
Photos by Mike Brown
Dr Lucile Estell & Geri Burnett
Above: Colors were presented by members of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6525 and American Legion Carlyle Post 358, both headquartered in Rockdale.
Speakers Dr. Lucile Estell (top) & Geri Burnett (bottom) are members of the Milam County Historical Commission.
Crowd of 150 enjoyed the shady setting of the San Gabriel River bottomland during Sunday rededication.
Top - left: land owner Kit Worley and Pct. 4 Commissioner Jeff Muegge officiated at ribbon cutting.

Top - right: Dr. Lucile Estell, standing, gave a history of the bridge as Geri Burnett, vice-chair of the Milam County Historical Commission, looks on.

Below - left  Middle : Flower Gipson-Chamblee sang national and state anthems, State Sen. Charles Schwertner spoke.
Back to the Future
There was all kinds of time warping going on Sunday when the 103-year-old Worley Bridge over the San Gabriel River at County Road 428 was re-dedicated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The bridge is old and new. It was completed in 1913 but has been restored to its pre-World War I glory in a three-year project. The first car to cross the bridge after the formal re-opening was this 1931 Ford Model A owned and driven by Frank Felton. Actually the bridge has been open for a month.
Frank Felton - Worley Bridge Re-dedication - 1931 Ford Model A
Photos by Mike Brown