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After at least 80 years of service, the old arch rock bridge just north of Jumbo in northern Pushmataha County has been finally been retired and a new structure is almost complete.
According to research, the rock bridge spanning Ten Mile Creek has been in continuous service since 1932, although a local historian puts the construction date back as far as 1923. When the bridge was first built, it include rock side rails, a favorite place for many children in the area to gather and throw rocks into the creek below.
In more recent decades, as the traffic across the bridge began to include larger vehicles, the side rails were removed. The last two inspections of the bridge appraised the structure as â€śBasically intolerable requiring high priority of replacement.â€ť
In order to straighten out the road and replace the bridge, the county purchased adjacent land from Earl Smith and George â€śBuddyâ€ť Henderson.
Buddy was contacted upon completion of the new bridge so that he could be the first person to cross Ten Mile Creek on the new structure. He crossed the bridge with his daughter, Priscilla, also a resident of Jumbo.
At 95, Buddy is the oldest living resident of Jumbo and can still remember crossing the rock bridge, at the age of 17, when his family moved into this area in 1934.
The old rock bridge, so long a fixture in Jumbo, has been left standing but blocked from any future vehicular traffic. The new bridge is being officially dedicated to the late Sylvester Smith (Earlâ€™s father) and Buddy Henderson on Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 2:00 p.m. The dedication will take place at the bridge.