San Saba's Historic Beveridge Bridge was the gathering place for Texas Department of Transportation Officials, Flinn Family members, and local residents Thursday morning, February 19. The recently restored bridge spans the San Saba River on CR 200 also known as the China Creek Road.
Present for the official opening presentation of the bridge were TX DOT officials from Austin: Lloyd M. Wolf, Bridge Design Group Leader; Charles Walker, Bridge Designer for the local bridge; Walt Lambert, contractor for the project; and Tim Florer, Documentary Historian. Heather Goodson, Historian and former TX DOT employee, was also present. Both Florer and Goodson visited in San Saba, interviewed residents, researched the history of the area and collected film footage for a Beveridge Bridge Documentary - the Restoration of the Beveridge Bridge, which will be available on DVD and the TX DOT Website later this summer.
Built in 1896, the bridge designers and builders were Flinn-Moyer Company of Weatherford, Texas. On hand for the event were four of William Flinn's great grandchildren and one great-great grandson. Dr. Tim Flinn of Strawn, Texas represented the family and gave a brief history of his grandfather's accomplishments. Other family members present were Paul Flinn; Richard, Judy, and Johnny Flinn from Weatherford, Texas and Patty Flinn Rowland and her husband Jack from Godley, Texas.
TX DOT Officials noted the commitment that the department has in preserving historic bridges. Charles Walker stated that he had the pleasure of overseeing the rebuilding of both the Regency Bridge in the western part of the county and the Beveridge Bridge. The contractor, Walt Lambert, explained many of the construction details and concluded by saying "I absolutely love this bridge!" Lyo Wo, who worked on the bridge, returned to be a part of the ceremony and noted that this had been his favorite bridge project.
Tim Florer, who had served as Master of Ceremonies for the event, asked former China Creek residents Betty Jo Miller and Marilynn Johanson to share their sentiments about the restored bridge. They both agreed that the bridge is beautiful and are grateful that it was restored, not destroyed. It is an asset to the community, an attraction for tourist and is accessible to visitors to take a walking tour of the bridge. The ladies expressed appreciation to the TX DOT members present for preserving the historic landmark bridge.
While in San Saba, Tim Florer visited the community, taking pictures, visiting with local folks, and callecting local history. Although his main interest centered around the Beveridge Bridge, he gathered a wealth of information about the town and the San Saba River. Included in his historic interviews were two local San Saban's, Elsie Oliver Millican and Betty Jo Turner Miller. The local ladies provided historic information that occurred in and around the San Saba River and the town of San Saba. He expressed his appreciation to both ladies for spending time with him and helping to make the TX DOT Beveridge Bridge Documentary so special.
Located a short distance to the west of the Beveridge Bridge is a modern two lane bridge constructed of concrete and steel. Travelers still take basically the same route into San Saba as they did in 1896. But for many San Sabans, a short country drive out the China Creek Road, by the Wedding oak, and across the San Saba River provides a tranquil retreat to the beautiful country side.