Thursday, March 8, 2018

W.W. Midgley's Speech

By all accounts W.W. Midgley was humbled, proud and thankful for the naming of a bridge after him.  It is indeed very rare for any man-made landmark to be named for a living person.  Midgley helped organize the dedication ceremony and delivered a short but sweet speech.  A typewritten copy of his speech is on file in the NAU Cline Library Special Collections. (Call #:  AHS.ND.854)

"I am touched by your generous expressions of friendship and am deeply appreciative of the honor you have bestowed upon me in naming this magnificent structure the Midgley Bridge.  

W.W. Midgley
I am sure, however, you will not think me ungrateful when I say to you that my greatest satisfaction in the completion of this bridge and the beautiful highway of which it is a part, lies not in the glorification of Midgley, but rather in the fact that they are the realization of a dream-your dream and mine, and the dream of those sturdy pioneers of Coconino and Yavapai, who started the work we have finished.

Those early settlers were made of the stuff that heroes are made of.  It was their love of the beauties of nature and the handiwork of God, their vision, their untiring energy and their sacrifices that make accessible to us and to future generations this marvelous canyon of enchantment.  Without a survey, and with the crudest of tools, they mapped their course and left for us trails and roads that challenged the skill of the engineers and the accuracy  of the chain and transit.

They  pointed the way, and the Highway Department and the boosters of 79 have carried on.  This bridge closes the last gap in the highway that has already obliterated the boundary  between our counties and brought us closer together in a sincere and lasting friendship.  It has made Arizona's wonderland easily accessible to the people north of us and to the south of us.  

To my mind, it is destined to become one of the most popular highways in Arizona, and I hope to live to see the day when it is a part of a great International Highway serving all of the countries of the North America Continent.

In closing may I say again I appreciate your expressions of friendship.  I see before me many of my old neighbors and associates.  Their friends has been test and I know it is sincere.  And I want you to know that I cherish that friendship and value it higher than all the worldly good I can ever hope to acquire."

Click here to read a summary of Widgley's Life up to October 1939:

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