When the Washington bridge over the Missouri River was approved in the summer of 1934, it had been determined that it would have to be a toll crossing. In fact, the toll rates had been set about the time the final approval was given. A story in The Missourian July 27, 1934, listed the tolls.
It must be remembered that construction of the bridge occurred at the height of the Depression in 1934. Small change was the money of the day. A dollar was sizeable currency. The tolls back then seem really cheap by today’s standards to cross toll bridges.
For instance, to cross the Washington bridge by foot was 15 cents one way and 25 cents for a round trip. It was the same to cross on a bicycle. A motorcycle and rider was 25 cents one way and 40 cents for a round trip. For a horse and rider, the price was 15 cents one way and 25 cents round trip.
It was a bit confusing when it listed the price for a “horse or team of horses and vehicle and driver, 30 cents one way, and 50 cents round trip,” and right under that, automobile and driver, 45 cents one way, 75 cents round trip.
The toll for a bus was 75 cents one way and $1.50 round trip. For each passenger in a bus, or auto, it was 5 cents more, one way, 10 cents round trip. For motor trucks, one ton or less, 70 cents, $1.10 round trip. If it was a truck over two tons, $1 one way, $1.60 round trip.
For a tractor, it was $1 and $1.50 round trip. Get this, it was $3 for a threshing outfit, and $6 round trip. The topper is it cost 10 cents a head for cattle on foot and 20 cents for a round trip. For hogs or sheep on foot, the price was 5 cents one way, and 10 cents for a round trip.
Ads in that issue of The Missourian reveal what the everyday costs were. At Asel’s Market, you could buy picnic hams for 16 cents a pound; Post’s bran flakes were 9 cents a package. Hake’s Shoe Store was selling men’s shoes on sale for $1.98 to $2.48. Men’s work shoes were $1.98 to $2.48. Modern Auto was selling Goodyear “G 3” tires, with good used tires going for 50 cents. Modern Auto was a AAA service station.
You could buy a pound of coffee at Mauntel’s Store for 17 cents, and three pounds for 50 cents. Vess soda was three
large bottles for 25 cents. With the bridge coming, the Washington Chamber of Commerce ran an ad urging people to “cooperate” in the civic work that would be required with growth. A Shoe Makers’ Picnic was being planned for the city park, with a parade, jitney dance, a softball game between the Fats and Leans and a beef barbecue. Also, there was to be a Water Carnival at the Diamonds pool, which was owned by Spencer Groff.
That’s the way it was in the summer of 1934 in Washington. But the big news was the approval of the Highway 47 bridge over the Missouri River.