Thursday, March 8, 2018

Governor Robert T. Jones Speech

Arizona Governor Robert T. Jones was the keynote speaker at the Midgley Bridge dedication October 8, 1939. Gov. Jones was a self-taught engineer and had a personal affinity for good roads.  His speech at the Midgley Bridge dedication filled 11 typewritten pages.  Much of the speech was political in nature and is not included here.  We transcribed the full text of the speech and placed it on Google Drive for those who may be interested. )
Gov. Robert T. Jones

"Mr. Chairman, Major Midgley, and guests---We have gathered here today to dedicate a road.  This road extends from Flagstaff to Prescott and is becoming one of the important roads in northern Arizona for business and pleasure travel.

I am proud and happy to take part in this dedication.  As Governor of the great State of Arizona, I am pleased to represent the state in my official position, and as a citizen I am proud to be with you today and to take part in this important occasion.

This is a great day for Arizona. Today we formally dedicate a road that is numbered on the maps as State Highway 79 and we formally accept it as a part of our great highway  system.  The importance of this event can be seen from the gathering here today.  You  have come from all over northern Arizona and from other sections of the state to pay  tribute to this road, to those who  have made it possible and to welcome it with open arms as a main artery of transportation that has served us well and will serve us with glory in years to come.

This road is more than a number.  It represents an achievement and a goal.  For many years you people of northern Arizona talked about it ----worked for it---fought for it---and today you have as a reward for your efforts one of the most scenic highways in America.  You are to be congratulated for those efforts.  These ceremonies here today are a tribute to you citizens of northern Arizona who have made this road possible.  Your work has been something to be proud of.

This isn't a long road in number of miles---only 90 miles or more, it joins Flagstaff, the county seat of Coconino County, with Prescott, the county seat of Yavapai County, crossing Oak Creek Canyon---Sedona---the Verde Valley---Clarkdale---Jerome---and Mingus Mountain.

But where, in all the world, can you find 90 miles of highway as colorful and as thrilling to travel.  It crosses through a mining belt---cattle range---rich mining region---heavy forests--and in Oak Creek Canyon it passes through some of the finest scenery in the world

This road has everything. Romance, history, industry, beauty!

World travelers have told me that Oak Creek Canyon is one of the most beautiful regions they have  ever seen.  The beauty of Oak Creek Canyon is becoming world famed and I predict that in the very near future it will be one of the places that every traveler will see in Western America.

We hear a lot about Zion Park in Utah and other scenic areas.  Oak Cree Canyon needs a good publicity agent, and it will be as famed as Zion or any other travel center in the West.  Here in the midst of all this beauty is fishing and everything that a vacationist could ask for.  It is a wonder road through wonderland.  

I would like to invite all the world to travel this road.  Come in winter---come in summer---come in spring--or come during these beautiful months of autumn and you will share with us the delightful experiences that  travel through such scenery affords.

State Highway 79 is a well-built road---built to stay. It is built to take care of the traffic needs of today---and for the increased traffic of the years to come.

In the development of our highway system from very small beginnings to the great system of highways we have today the work of some men stand out.

Here in Northern Arizona we have a man who has given years of time and effort to improve our highway system and to make our highways serve us better.

Today that man is the  honored guest at this celebration.  He is the president of the Highway 79 Association and to his efforts more than any other man are we indebted for this great highway that we formally and officially dedicate today.

That man is the Honorable Major W.W. Midgley of Flagstaff.  Major Midgley runs a grocery store in his home town, but it is safe to say he talks roads more than he does groceries.

And I'll bet he knows every mile of Highway 79 better than he knows the shelves of canned goods in the Midgley Store.

All of Arizona, not only northern Arizona, owes a great debt of gratitude for the work of Major Midgley in advocating for good roads and in lending such untiring effort to the construction of Highway 79.

Today we are gathered here from all over Arizona to pay our  respects to Major Midgley, and in his honor we name this fine bridge across Wilson Canyon "Midgley Bridge."

This beautiful masterpiece of steel and concrete and asphalt will stand here long after we are gone.  In the years to come thousands and thousands of our citizens and visitors from other states will drive over this bridge.  It will carry them swiftly and safely over this canyon, whether the stream below be small or whether it be a roaring flood.

Throughout all the years it will stand here it will carry the name---"Midgley Bridge," to remind those who come after us of a man who was first of all a good citizen, who  believed in good roads and who worked for good roads.

"Midgley Bridge" will be an inspiration for other citizens and it will be a constant reminder of the work of one man who gave a great deal to his  state.

As governor of this state and in behalf of all citizens of Arizona I declare this bridge "Midgley Bridge" in honor of a man who I am happy to be with today in dedicating this great highway.  I thank you.”

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