“Welcome to” signs are a big part of many communities in North Central Washington. Here is the Bridgeport sign at Bridgeport, Washington.
The city of Bridgeport sits along the Columbia River in Douglas County, surrounded by orchards and sagebrush covered hills. It’s just downstream of Chief Joseph Dam, one of the more impressive hydroelectric dams in the nation. Here is a quick look at five fun facts about this nice little rural community.
What’s In A Name?
When the Bridgeport area was originally settled in the late 1800s, it was named Westfield.
Named After What?
The community was renamed Bridgeport in 1892, shortly after being purchased by developers who had come to the area from Bridgeport, Connecticut.
World Record Holder’s Hometown
On October 5, 1931, pilot Clyde Pangborn, along with co-pilot Hugh Herndon, successfully completed the first transPacific flight from Japan to the United States, landing above what would become East Wenatchee. Pangborn was a native of Bridgeport, Washington.
The first road used by settlers coming to North Central Washington led from Ellensburg to a ferry crossing near Wenatchee. It then went north from there and eventually came to another ferry crossing at a point where Bridgeport would eventually be founded.
State Highway 173 travels right through Bridgeport, connecting Highway 17 to the east to US Highway 97 at Brewster to the west. Bridgeport’s connection to Brewster via Highway 173 was broken in 1967 when the Brewster Bridge was destroyed by a fire. The replacement bridge wasn’t completed until a few years later and in the meantime, traffic going that direction had to make use of a short ferry crossing.
The Rocky Butte Fire Department building pictured above is found just off the highway between Brewster and Bridgeport. This is one of the many rural fire departments that help protect North Central Washington.
Here is a look at the Bridgeport Plaza in Bridgeport, Washington. Bridgeport is located just downriver of the famous Chief Joseph Dam. It is in a very interesting portion of North Central Washington, within a few minutes of the forests of the Cascades and also the near desert like features east of there. It can be a great stop on a drive east towards Grand Coulee Dam, north to Omak or Okanogan, or west to Winthrop and the North Cascades Highway.
Chief Joseph Dam is the first dam downriver from the world famous Grand Coulee Dam. Though it is not as well known, it is a very important dam to those from North Central Washington. It is also very impressive and Bridgeport State Park is located right behind it.
This tank is on display near one of the many lookout spots overlooking Chief Joseph Dam. This is one of the major dams over the Columbia River and is located just east of the city of Bridgeport in North Central Washington.