During the early days of Texas history, the current site of the historic Gruene Bridge was the best option for a low-water crossing within 100 miles in either direction. The ford became a popular crossing point, utilized by wagon trains, cattle drivers and stagecoaches following the El Camino Real de los Tejas trail during westward expansion. Despite this easy access, the dirt road leading up the bank on the Gruene was formidable, and often a dedicated mule team was held on standby to assist travelers up the muddy bank. Seasonal flooding was as much a problem then as it is now, and pioneers could be delayed up to three days at a time as they waited for the waters to retreat to safe levels. The advent of the automobile made it evident that a better form of crossing was required, so the first concrete span was erected in 1909. Improvements to the bridge continue to this day, as flooding remains a consistent environmental hurdle.
G1. Gruene Bridge (1909)