Little more than two decades after the Land Run of 1889 opened the Indian Territory to settlement, Bridge Creek School was teaching the basic skills to children of the farmers and ranchers who constituted the community. The story persists that the name Bridge Creek stuck when early settlers built a bridge of freshly cut timbers to cross the creek. The local history buff could find the original school by following the six mile line south (Sara Road) to its jog. Only a small amount of the history of Bridge Creek School has been preserved.
Bridge Creek High School began in 1919, located on the south side of the road of the present Bridge Creek Elementary. The brick structure was located to the west of the old gym built by WPA in 1936. It was very close to where the brick elementary building is now located. It is believed that grades one through twelve were taught in the building. A horse stall to house students horses was to the east, approximately where the music room and trailer are located.
Four elementary schools fed Bridge Creek High School. The two room schools were Snow Hill and Bridge Creek Elementary. The one room schools were Antioch and McIntosh Elementary.
In approximately 1929, all the schools came together to form the Bridge Creek School located on the south side of the road. From four local grammar schools Bridge Creek grew to high school status, graduating seniors until 1957. The early school became the center of the community activities. Ladies met at the school to hold quilting parties. During one such party in 1951, a tornado hit the school. No one was killed, but there were some injuries. The ceiling fell in on Mr. Russell, the superintendent, cutting and bruising him. Mrs. Bottoms, a teacher, had to be taken to Tuttle for stitches in her leg. The children got under their desks for protection. The ceiling and walls of the building collapsed, covering them with dust and building materials. According to a 1952 yearbook, the Bridge Creek Bobcats were known as the Bridge Creek Indians. Why the name was changed has not been established.
In 1959 the school population declined to the degree that upper division students were sent to Blanchard, Newcastle, Tuttle and Amber. Bridge Creek graduated its next senior class in 1990, after thirty-two years.
In 1968, tragedy struck again. In the early morning hours a fire occurred (because of a wiring shortage) and destroyed a large amount of the school.
Between the years of 1977 and 1981 Bridge Creek School enrollment leaped from 212 to 491. Since that time there has been a generally steady growth that has filled classrooms as quickly as they could be built. The middle school was built in two stages, one in 1978 and the second in 1982. The middle school gym was built around 1980. Around 1980 three additions were made at the middle school; (1) the eating area north of the gym; (2) an economics lab; and (3) a parking lot.
The high school was begun in 1985, the same time the present 4-5 building was constructed. An addition to the high school was occupied in 1989. The high school gymnasium was completed in 1994. School enrollment in 1994 had grown to 1006. The new gym was needed for graduation, assemblies, drama, meetings, physical education classes and other appropriate events-- athletic, academic, and social -- to which the building lends itself.
Much of the credit for change goes to Mr. Tom Anderson, who moved the school from dependent status to independent status. Mr. Anderson came in the 1983-1984 school year, and executed a building program which continues for the next ten years. Mr. Jim Pothorst became superintendent in the 1990-1991 school year, followed by Sheryl Flowers in 1994-1995 and Mr. Terry Brown in 1997-1998. Growth and change have continued. The elementary library, which includes primary and middle school materials, has been moved to a new building. The elementary cafeteria kitchen was remodeled, the building received a new roof, and a flagpole was erected.
The Bridge Creek community continues to change as more people move to the area. It will be a challenge for the school and the community to keep up with the growth.