Pawhuska's swinging bridge draws in brave tourists

PAWHUSKA, Okla. - A piece of Oklahoma history "hangs out" in Pawhuska.

Osage County is often a spot for tourists hoping to see the tall grass prairie or the Pioneer Woman's Mercantile store, but those who really do their homework on the area come across Pawhuska's swinging bridge.

It's easy to find in Pawhuska, it's been there for years. But, this necessity for some is like a carnival ride for others.

Just off main, a few blocks from the pioneer woman's new restaurant and store in downtown Pawhuska is a historical spot that a few of the hundreds of people who come here every day, also stop to see.

There's a marker at the end of Kikehah Street so you know a historical spot in Osage County lies just beyond the canopy of trees here.

It's been here since 1926, and though it was made safer in the 70's, this swinging footbridge is not for the faint of heart.

It's Erik Sperry's first trip across Pawhuska's swinging bridge.

At one time this was the only way residents had to get from one side of Pawhuska into town and it still is for many without cars.

The steel cables might be rusty and the boards a little creaky, but you have to ignore all that once you've committed to cross.

And, although the sign warns not to shake the swinging bridge, there are those that still do.

Frank Curry, who has lived in Pawhuska all his life, has spent the last 30 years on the west side of the swinging bridge.

He's crossed on it since he was a kid.

Curry says most of them tourists who lose their nerve halfway through the trip across the bridge and refuse to go back.

"I've seen a lot of people come out here and freeze out here in the middle of it and I've seen a lot of them get over here and make their husbands come back, get the car and drive around here and pick 'em up," Curry said.

Bird Creek is shallow but a long way down from up here, especially on a windy day.

Curry says there have been very few incidents on the bridge in the almost 100-years it's been here. 

But there was that time he forgot there was a board missing.

The city is a little quicker to keep up with most repairs on the swinging bridge now that hundreds of people have discovered it's here.

It's another quirky little gem on an Oklahoma back road that you at least should see, and if you have the nerve walk across.

You can Google interesting things to see in Pawhuska and directions for the swinging bridge will come up.

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