On July 2, 1941, over 6,000 people were in attendance for the ceremony marking the opening of the bridge over Red Oak Creek and the Ripley portion of the road along the Ohio River that served routes 52, 62 and 68. This fact comes from another newspaper article out of the Portsmouth Times dated July 2, 1941.
Six thousand people! Think about how big of a crowd six thousand people would make! The opening of the bridge and the four miles of concrete pavement that was the Ripley section of the Cincinnati-Portsmouth road was a very important accomplishment for the small town of Ripley, Ohio. The dedication ceremony, planned by a committee headed by my great-grandfather, Louis Becker, was attended by such dignitaries as State Highway Director, Hal G. Sours, Arthur H. Peake, Division Highway Engineer, and other county and town officials. United States Representative, Jacob E. Davis of Ohio's 6th District and United States Senators from Ohio, Robert A. Taft and Harold H. Burton sent greetings by telegram.
A parade with the Ripley High School band, the Columbia System Band from Cincinnati, as well as floats by the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, American Legion Auxiliary, and Ripley Farmers and Sportsmen, was a highlight of the ceremony. Vehicles representing various years and modes of transportation were also in the parade. There was an ox-cart driven by L. P. Collier and a 1903 Reliable with solid tires driven by Emma Lang which was purported to be the oldest automobile in the state! Rounding out the list of parade vehicles was a fire truck from 1887 and a hearse once owned by Lou Grimm. What a parade that must have been for Ripley residents!
I can't count how many times I've traveled that section of Highway 52 and crossed over that bridge never knowing its history or the part my family played in it. The next time I have the chance to visit Ripley, I plan on taking a picture of the bridge over Red Oak Creek. It will make a very nice addition to the growing story of my family!