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Bridgeport is a city in Wise Countymarker, Texasmarker, United Statesmarker. The population was 4,309 at the 2000 census.

Geography

Bridgeport is located at (33.209844, -97.760908) .

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.7 square miles (9.7 km²), of which, 3.7 square miles (9.6 km²) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (0.54%) is water.

Demographics

As of the census of 2000, there were 4,309 people, 1,383 households, and 1,023 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,161.9 people per square mile (448.4/km²). There were 1,515 housing units at an average density of 408.5/sq mi (157.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 79.95% White, 2.65% African American, 0.44% Native American, 0.12% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 14.67% from other races, and 2.14% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 28.20% of the population.

There were 1,383 households out of which 42.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.1% were married couples living together, 11.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.0% were non-families. 23.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.86 and the average family size was 3.40.

In the city the population was spread out with 30.0% under the age of 18, 8.7% from 18 to 24, 30.9% from 25 to 44, 16.9% from 45 to 64, and 13.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 85.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 78.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $31,016, and the median income for a family was $36,742. Males had a median income of $31,044 versus $22,204 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,335. About 12.8% of families and 16.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.2% of those under age 18 and 8.7% of those age 65 or over.

History

Bridgeport's history began in February 1860 when William H. Hunt was granted a charter from the West Fork Bridge Company to build a bridge across the West Fork of the Trinity Rivermarker. The bridge was located approximately one mile southwest of the present townsite. A Texas State Historical Marker alongside Farm To Market Road 920 denotes the spot of the original bridge today .

The wooden bridge was used for a portion of the Butterfield Overland Mail stage route. After the American Civil War began, the mail route was no longer used and the original wooden bridge was abandoned.

In 1873 a new iron bridge was built and a post office established, thus formally creating the city of Bridgeport, TX. Its future was assured in 1882 when Charles Cates discovered a vein of bituminous coal while drilling for water. The Wise County Coal Company was formed and was a leading producer of coal for the state until competition from natural gas and petroleum closed the coal mines in 1929.

In 1893 the Rock Island Railroad established a line east of the town, so the town moved approximately one mile east to its present site. In 1913 the town was incorporated. Gas and Oil production became a local industry prior to 1917. The 1920s census showed a town of 1,872. During the 1920s, limestone quarries that produced aggregate for road construction and a brick factory were established. In 1931, a dam was constructed approximately three miles west of town on the West Fork of the Trinity River, creating Lake Bridgeport. The lake was a local center for recreation and remains so today.

During the latter half of the 20th century, Bridgeport's oil, gas, and limestone indurstries continued to flourish and the town became the second largest town in Wise County. These industries continue to be the local economic leaders.

Banking

For almost 200 years, Bridgeport was served by the Bridgeport National Bank. The bank was purchased in the late 1900s by primary investors Billie C. Green, W.W. "Wilson" Ray, and M.L. Manoushagian. It, however, was sold in December 2005 to First Financial Bankcards (stock symbol FFIN) based in Abilene and became part of a six branch bankconsisting of institutions in Bridgeport, Boyd, Decatur, Keller, and Trophy Club.

Famous Residents

Kyle Clifton, formerly of the NFL New York Jets, graduated from Bridgeport High School in 1980 after having been born in Olney, Texasmarker. Although he played linebacker at Texas Christian Universitymarker and then the Jets, Clifton played quarterback for the Bridgeport Bulls his junior and senior years leading the Bulls to a 9-1 record in the former (losing only to Bowie at home). He was a third round draft pick of the Jets and played with the team his entire career which lasted thirteen seasons from 1984-1996.

References

Handbook of Texas Online s.v. "BRIDGEPORT, TX," http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/BB/hgb11.html (accessed January 17, 2006).

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