The Brinkley Bridge


Television newsman David Brinkley made a Wayne County bridge famous.

File Photo | The Herald-Dispatch


In 1907, a bridge was built across Twelve Pole Creek on the northern edge of the
town of Wayne. At first people called the simple steel truss bridge The New
County Bridge, but because it connected Wayne with a farm owned by
Robert Scott Sansom, it became known as the Sansom Bridge.

In 1960, television newsman David Brinkley would make the little bridge famous.

Visiting Wayne County during the 1960 presidential campaign, Brinkley
did an NBC news report from the old bridge across Twelve Pole
 Creek. Brinkley held the microphone down so viewers could
hear the bridge’s floorboards pop and groan
as vehicles rumbled across it.

Stung by Brinkley’s report, the state did a rush repair job on the
 rickety bridge and then invited Brinkley to attend its reopening.

People in Wayne County had started calling the old Twelve Pole bridge
 the “Brinkley Bridge.” Then some unknown soul suggested that
maybe the name should be made official. So Brinkley was
contacted and agreed to come back for the
bridge’s reopening on June 17, 1961.

To his surprise, Brinkley found the bridge was being named for him.
He made brief remarks and then cut the obligatory ribbon,
allowing a motorcade — and a crowd of curious
 spectators — to cross the span.

But that’s not the end of the story.

By 1970, the old bridge was again in bad shape and on Sept. 22
of that year, it collapsed under the weight of an overloaded
 truck. The following year, a new replacement bridge
was opened, but minus the famous newsman’s
 name. The Brinkley Bridge was no more.

After the famed newsman’s death in 2003, the bridge
 sign with his name on it reportedly was
 found in his family garage.


Note:  This Article and picture appeared in the Herald-Dispatch Newspaper on May 17, 2022..


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