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BRIDGEPORT, TEXAS. Bridgeport is on State Highway 114 eight miles west of Decatur and two miles east of Lake Bridgeport in western Wise County. It originated in February 1860 when a group organized by William H. Hunt secured a charter from the West Fork Bridge Company to build a bridge across the West Fork of the Trinity River. The bridge was to be part of the Butterfield Overland Mail route. Pierce Woodward suggested the name. A year later, however, the Civil War began, the mail route was abandoned, and the wooden bridge collapsed. Bridgeport remained a small, rural community until 1873, when a new iron bridge was constructed for transporting supplies from Decatur to Fort Richardson. In May of that year a post office was established. In the 1880s coal was discovered near the town, and for the next forty years the Wise County Coal Company was one of the state's chief producers of bituminous coal. Competition from oil and gas forced the coal mines to close in 1929.
In 1893, when Rock Island tracks reached within two miles of Bridgeport, the town moved a mile east to take advantage of the rail line. The railroad established Bridgeport as an retail center for area cattle ranchers and dairy farmers. The town incorporated in 1913 and in 1920 had a population of 1,872. By the end of the decade Bridgeport was producing crushed stone for road construction and was the site of a brick factory. The completion of Lake Bridgeport in 1931 further diversified the economy; Bridgeport became a tourist center for visitors to the lake. The population of Bridgeport grew steadily after the 1920s and surpassed 2,000 in the mid-1950s. In 1986 it had an estimated 3,737 residents and 153 businesses and was the second largest town in Wise County. In 1990 the population was 3,581, and in 2000 it was 4,309.
BIBLIOGRAPHY:Cliff D. Cates, Pioneer History of Wise County (Decatur, Texas: Old Settlers Association, 1907). Rosalie Gregg, ed., Wise County History (Vol. 1, n.p: Nortex, 1975; Vol. 2, Austin: Eakin, 1982).
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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Handbook of Texas Online, David Minor, "BRIDGEPORT, TX," accessed November 18, 2018, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hgb11.
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