McClaren Bridge was damaged by floods

Editor's note: This is the final column in a series on Milam county's McClaren Bridge.

The McClaren Bridge, built in 1912, withstood many major floods and river overflows before it was replaced.

Just five years after the bridge was built, a flood in 1919 bent one of the railings on the left side as you left Marlow for a trip to Cameron.

Since the bend was not serious, it was left as a memory of the 1919 flood.

In 1921, the largest flood ever to hit Central Texas damaged the lower end on the west side of the bridge. Damage was enough that the Commissioners' court ordered the bridge to undergo repairs.

S. W. McClaren, Sr. continued to help the county when funds for bridge repairs were not available.

He loaned, and even donated, the county funds to keep the bridge in good repair.

O ver t he years, as people moved into the Marlow Community, the bridge was called Marlow Bridge.

Milam County Court records list McClaren Bridge, built across the Little River in 1912.

In the mid 1980's, prior to the organization of the Milam County Historical Commission, Milam County Heritage Preservation Society Members undertook a project to gather information and publish "Matchless Milam".

This group of 39 people across Milam County gave many hours to collect county history and family oral histories to make "Matchless Milam" a legacy for future generations.

Max McClaren, one of these volunteers, documented the history of the McClaren Bridge. He also had a professional photographer take a picture of the bridge and placed a 28-by-36 inch enlargement in the Milam County Museum.

A new modern bridge replaced the old bridge.

Left to decay, the old bridge, covered with vines, was blocked off to prevent pedestrian traffic but stands there to remind us of what once was the major bridge for Marlow residents to Cameron.

A color picture taken when the bridge was in its prime, just before it was replaced, is a masterpiece of Milam County bridge history.

Just as the old bridge was left to remind us of what once was, the museum and a few homes where the picture is now displayed, are part of what is left to display the true beauty of the bridges of the county.

Research: "Matchless Milam" published 1984, Article by Max McClaren, son of S. W. McClaren, Sr.


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