Turns Out, The Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge Isn't A Bridge To Nowhere After All.
While Friday night's Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge grand opening celebration was in full swing, KDGE 102.1 -FM The Edge's Mark Schectman and I lightheartedly started using a Twitter hashtag called #WestDallasFacts wherein we encouraged folks to post silly facts about West Dallas.
The idea was that West Dallasites were so unspoken and unknown that they were basically a lost society finally receiving first contact with civilization through the futuristic and heroic efforts of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge. The joke was that no one really goes to or knows anything about West Dallas — so why did we build a $93 million bridge to connect to that area, especially when there's two perfectly functioning ones right next to it?
Well, obviously, the bridge really isn't about West Dallas at all. It's about Dallas — although I guess there's a cool looking industrial factory at the end of it on the West Dallas side. You could, like, ride your bike across the bridge and look at that if you wanted. I guess.
I joke, of course, but the city's not really putting any effort into helping that side of the river even though there are, in fact, some fairly interesting things in West Dallas after all. They're just not very well publicized.
But Bike Friendly Oak Cliff hopes to change that. This past Sunday, that organization held a bridge ride to Clyde Barrow's grave on Sunday afternoon, followed by drinks at Bar Belmont. You know who Barrow is: He's the male half of the most infamous bank robbing duo in American history.
In January of 1930, in the kitchen of a house in what was then called “Cement City,” Bonnie Parker was making hot chocolate when Barrow walked in and locked eyes with her, birthing a partnership so storied that their last names would become insignificant with time.
The Barrow family has plenty of ties to West Dallas. They actually lived under the Houston Street Viaduct in a wagon when they first arrived in this part of town, and Barrow's grave can actually be found in the Western Heights Cemetery at 1617 Fort Worth Ave. Like his family's Star Service Gas Station on Singleton, that landmark is still standing.
On Sunday, Bike Friendly Oak Cliff showed off both of these spots. And they're planning more trips to other forgotten West Dallas landmarks in the future, too.
You can find more information on future rides across the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge and into West Dallas on Bike Friendly Oak Cliff's Facebook page.