First walking bridge over Salado Creek built in 1867
Salado incorporates to build first bridge
For several years after the town was laid out, the citizens of Salado crossed the shallow creek by stepping from rock to rock, or on logs laid across the wider places.
These logs were chained to the rocks and would sink down stream during freshets and be replaced when the flood subsided. But when in 1866 a dam was thrown across the stream at the lower end of the village, the water was backed up over the rocks. Then for a time “foot-logs” raised on legs standing in the water and chained to the rocks below were used; but they were narrow, rickety and unsafe, and pedestrians not infrequently tumbled off into the water. A general demand arose for a bridge. To meet this problem as well as others, it was decided to incorporate the village. Application for incorporation was made under the general law and the county court in January 1867, authorized and election for town officers. On February 23, Judge O.T. Tyler was elected mayor and a board of aldermen was chosen. These officials appointed the other officers, among the Colonel Thos. H. Jones as treasurer. The town officials first tried to raise funds for a bridge by voluntary donations, but finding they could not raise enough by this means, on December 3, 1868, they ordered an issue of bonds…
The bonds were purchased by the citizens of the town. With the proceeds and subscriptions amounting in all to some $2,500, the municipal authorities proceeded to build a wire cable suspension foot-bridge of substantial construction of unique design and graceful proportions. Two large galvanized rope-wire cables, anchored at each end in strongly built stone abutments, were carried over two double-turreted dressed-stone piers of towers. From these suspended cables wire cords extended down to catch and support the ends of sawed cedar cross bars or joists on which the plank floor was laid. It was one of the first of its kind in the Southwest and was designed, engineered and constructed entirely by home talent-Judge Tyler, Colonel Thos. H. Jones, Judge Wm. H. Garrett, Wm. A. Davis, John Hendrickson and others. It swung some twenty feet above the water and although it could be made to sway enough from side to side to frighten timid souls–especially groups of squealing girls when mischievous boys chose this method of teasing them–it served the people well for more than thirty years. After the county built a combination wagon and foot bridge a few yards upstream the suspension bridge gradually fell into disuse. In 1913 it was finally swept away when a cloud burst in the upper water-shed of Salado Creek sent down a terrific flood that carried away the county bridge as well. The latter was promptly rebuilt, only to be carried away again in the still greater flood of September 9 and 10, 1921.
From “The History of Bell County” George W. Tyler, Third Edition