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The huge headline blared across the front of the April 1, 1954, Western World: Traffic Crossing Bullards Bridge Today. And it was no April Fool's joke. It was the long-awaited opening of the Bullards Bridge, which replaced the Bullards Ferry (at right), which had been in operation for 63 years.

The first small ferry scow was propelled by hand-operated windlass across the Coquille River in September 1891, by the builder, Robert W. Bullard, pioneer rancher, storekeeper and postmaster. I will mention later in my column about Marjorie Bullard Stephenson, who was honored Saturday at the dedication of a beautiful bench overlooking the beach. She and her late sister, Betty Bullard Baird, were the granddaughters of Robert W. Bullard.

On to the story about the ferry. When the first ferry crossing was effected, James Morrison was on hand to help Bullard set the passengers across; then on the final day the ferry was in operation, Morrison was one of the last passengers to be set across the river by Chief Operator F. S. Younce, whose wife Dora, can be seen in front of the Ferry. Bullard operated the ferry as a private enterprise until the county took over in 1909. An average of 4,000 vehicles, including 1,000 trucks, crossed the ferry each month, with 13,000 to 14,000 passengers.

I remember crossing on the ferry with my grandmother, Grace Felsheim, when I was probably in the 8th grade. The ferry got stuck in the middle of the river and the drama queen I was in those days feared for our lives. But, of course, we made it safely to the other side.

Bill Smith, grandson of Dora and F.S. Younce, the chief operator, shared a copy of the photo with me.

First work on the bridge was started Jan. 5, 1953, at which time clearing and grading for the approaches was begun. It was not until Sept. 26 that the first section of the steel structure was put into place.

The Bullards Store, started by Robert W. Bullard and later operated by his sister Emily's son, Lester Bundy, was torn down to make way for the Bullards Bridge.

The second photo was taken in March of 1965 to herald the new parking lot which opened at the lighthouse on the North Jetty in Bullards Beach State Park. Note plants of grass in the middle of the picture, which was taken looking north from the lighthouse.

Today, the parking lot has been battered by winter storms, and although it is now open to the public, it is not nearly as large as the area in this photo.

I love the third picture of the late Dr. Del Remy, taken in 1980 as he teaches youngsters at Ocean Crest School how to open their mouths during an examination.

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I was among those who were invited to the unveiling of the bench at the end of Eighth Street, overlooking the ocean, which Marjorie Stephenson's daughter and son-law, Tom and Carol Fugere, put there in her honor and in the memory of her sister, Betty Bullard Baird, who died a year and a half ago at the age of 99. Marjorie celebrated her 105th birthday in February, and while she is now living in an assisted living facility in Coquille, she was on hand for the dedication, which was attended by family members and friends of the sisters, including Marjorie's son, Fred Hultin, and Betty's daughters, Sally and Suzy Baird.

She is such a special lady and it was great to see her out and looking well after she took a bad fall several months ago.

* * *

It's great to see the Bandon Playhouse is rejuvenated and ready to entertain us once again. It's been two years since its last show, "Wizard of Oz," but they are presenting a Broadway Singalong on Saturday, Aug. 10, at 7 p.m. and Sunday afternoon, Aug. 11, at 2, at the Sprague Theater. Serving as masters of ceremonies are Mike Dempsey and Cathy Underdown, both of whom have been involved in local theater for many years. There are 20 other cast members who will be singing and the audience is welcome and encouraged to sing along or just listen. It should be a fun show, even if you're not a singer.

Admission is $10 for all ages at the door, or in advance at Bandon Mercantile.

For more information visit their website at www.bandonplayhouse.org or "like" their Facebook page.

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My rain guy, Gerry Terp, recorded 0.36 inches of rain for the month of June, compared to 0.79 for the previous year and 2.82 inches for 2016/17.

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I recently learned that Jerene Albertson Whitney (Class of 1959) had died June 13 at her home in Klamath Falls. Her husband, Butch Whitney (Class of 1958) had died earlier. Graveside services were held for her July 20 at Myrtle Crest Memorial Gardens in Coquille.

I saw many of Jerene's classmates this weekend as they held their 60-year class reunion at Lord Bennett's. A few that I saw were Jean Kronenberg, Nancy Sheckler, Peggy Hunt, Jim Yager, Larry Davison and his sister, Shirley, Ken Butler, Bob Ellis, Judy Howard, Mary Armstrong, Karen Allen, Warren Thompson, Bob Bowman, Sally Myers, Emelie Martin, Juanice Sprague, and Dayton Turner.

I also learned that Donna Barnekoff Britt (Class of 1963) died last week.

* * *

I noticed in the Bandon Police Department report that John Olson of Bandon, formerly with Tesoaria Vineyard and Winery in Roseburg, who had also previously been the manager at Edgewaters, had been arrested in June on a warrant out of Deschutes County. A detective with the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office in Bend said he was arrested on racketeering and money laundering charges, and his bail had been set at $150,000.

He had earlier announced plans to open Bandon Wine in the building along Ferry Creek just east of Face Rock Creamery, but the business never opened. He is scheduled to go to court on Sept. 10 on the charges.

* * *

If you like the photos that I share in my column each week (well at least the more recent ones) you might enjoy the program at the Bandon History Museum on Saturday, Aug. 17, with one at 11 a.m. and the same program again at 2 p.m.

I will be sharing photos from my collection of the '50s, '60s and '70s, and there is no admission to the museum that day.

* * *

Getting ready to "celebrate" my 80th birthday Monday night .... at a City Council meeting. But dinner Saturday night at Alloro with my three sisters and friends should be fun.

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