Thursday, March 8, 2018

A Bridge To The Future

Midgley Bridge is a vitally important link between The Past and The Future.  Midgley Bridge represents progress personified in all regards and aspects.  The fact that the bridge was completed nearly a year before it was dedicated speaks volumes about early Arizona State Highway Department politics.  Likewise, the fact that it was named for a living human being who helped plan the dedication and make a keynote speech also speaks volumes.  Arizona "Road politics" in the  1920's and 1930's was all about The Art of Back Scratching and W.W. Midgley was the consummate practitioner of that Age Old Skill.  He was so skilled in The Art he wound up with a bridge named after him.

Back in the 1920's and 1930's, it was ALL about "show me the money" when it came to building so-called "better roads."  Lip service didn't count.  Only the gravel, oil and asphalt laid down on the road meant anything.  Only another bridge, another culvert, another crossing of a dangerous arroyo meant anything.  If you didn't deliver the goods, you were worthless.

And that's what W.W. Midgley stood for.  He stood for Truth and Reality.  He called a Spade a Spade and everyone knew it.  Everyone feared The Major when it came to calling out the Spade.  And The Major delivered.  He put the Prescott-Flagstaff road on the  map as a GOOD ROAD, as they were wont to say back in the day.

And it immediately brought a new tsunami of "travel business" to the land.  People responded.  They heard and they came.  Like the  Governor said in his speech. "Good Roads Mean Money!" Everybody back in those days knew where their bread was buttered and they knew the term "Good Roads" was a pseudonym for "Money In My Pocket."

W.W. Midgley was a Master Crafter at the peak of his game when he skillfully guided the State Route 79 Association to gilded success in creating a truly international highway of worldwide fame.  The Major had no peer and that's why there's a bridge that bears his name.

In this website we hope to tell the story of the Midgley Bridge dedication and why it's an important Arizona historical chapter and what it meant and continues to mean in Southwest transportation evolution.  There's really no one other spot and event that captures the essence of why and how an obscure wagon road could be catapulted into a world renowned highway.

Major Midgley, we owe you a forever debt of gratitude for the legacy you brought to all of us.  The fact that a bridge is named for you is merely a small token in honor of your lasting contribution to our history.  THANK YOU, Mister Midgley!

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