Walnut Bridge. Just as the Walnut Bridge preservation/reconstruction was controversial in the early-to-mid 2000s, it was a controversial item from its earliest plans dating back to around 1900. In the early days, controversy largely focused on who should pay for it ... the railroad (the Rock Island or its predecessors), the city, or both. This mini-article doesn't explore the controversy and it sufficient to note here that the bridge (then called the "Walnut Viaduct") did get built in 1905, providing a means of transversing the Rock Island tracks on a north/south axis ... the only such vehicular and pedestrian link which connected the Deep Deuce area and the warehouse district for many years. The initial bridge was steel and concrete -- notice the steel trusses in the center of the bridge in the early day photos, below. In 1935, major improvements were made but the steel trusses in the center remained. In April 1938, they were replaced by substantial reconstruction and the Walnut Bridge we came to know from that point forward came to exist (including its controversial total rebuilding in 2005-2006 and renaming as the G.E. Finley Bridge).

A view in the early 1930s, courtesy Dean Schirf

1909 View From Terry L. Griffith's Oklahoma City: Statehood to 1930 (Arcadia Publishing 2000)

The Daily Oklahoman, May 27, 1935

Courtesy Whistle Stop Trains, Oklahoma City, after 1938

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