Bridging the gap on a downtown misnomer

September 15, 2018 | 9:24 pm

Updated September 15, 2018 | 10:42 pm

The blue-painted bridge that connects Owensboro to Indiana has been around since 1940. Debate has surrounded the official name of the bridge, which most Owensboro residents call “The Blue Bridge.” However, three different plaques placed at the bridge’s entrance in 1940 might cause confusion as to the bridge’s official name.

Originally a toll bridge, the blue bridge was first painted silver. According to Judy Peters with visitors services at Visit Owensboro, it wasn’t until 1970 that the bridge was painted blue. After that, residents of Owensboro started calling it “The Blue Bridge.”

On one of the plaques, it says the bridge was dedicated to the memory of Glover H. Cary, who was a Kentucky democratic congressman from 1930 until his death in 1936. According to Peters, she’s always called the bridge the Glover H. Cary Bridge.

“It was dedicated in memory to Glover Cary, but it’s an unofficial, honorary title,” Peters said.

Peters said people have called the bridge by different names for years.

Another plaque pays tribute to the Owensboro Bridge Commission, and the third plaque dedicated to the Federal Works Agency (including Franklin D. Roosevelt and John M. Carmody) names it Owensboro Bridge (1940). With two plaques paying tribute to Owensboro Bridge, it appears that may be the official name.

The Daviess County Public Library searched their Kentucky Room to help upend the mystery surrounding the bridge’s name. Two pages from the book, Owensboro: The City on The Yellow Banks, refer to the bridge as the Glover Cary Bridge.

“Formal dedicatory services were held on July 30, 1940, with the bridge being named for Congressman Glover H. Cary….Plaques at the Owensboro end of the Glover Cary Bridge illustrate the important role played by government agencies…”

What, perhaps, makes the official naming of the bridge final lies in the State Highway Commission of Indiana via the State House Annex of Indianapolis, In.

The Right of Way Grant designated for the bridge under the State Highway Commission of Indiana includes page after page of information, each time listing the project as “Owensboro Bridge.” The documents were approved by officials from Rockport, Ind., Washington, Ind., Spencer County, Ind., and Tulsa, Okla.

Whether residents want to call it “The Blue Bridge,” “The Glover Cary Bridge,” “The Owensboro Blue Bridge,” among others, it appears that the official name for the landmark that’s become a part of Daviess County’s culture is, simply, Owensboro Bridge. Regardless of name, the bridge is an iconic piece of the Owensboro landscape, especially this weekend as the community celebrated Bridge Day and the air show.

September 15, 2018 | 9:24 pm

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