Archived Story

Some in county want new structure named for Collins

Published 10:25am Friday, March 22, 2013

Two years before the new Ironton-Russell Bridge becomes a reality some Lawrence County leaders already know what they want to call it and have lobbied state representatives to name the new structure after one of the longest serving state legislators.

Last week the House Transportation, Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee heard testimony for House Bill 36 that would name the structure the Oakley C. Collins Memorial Bridge

Among those testifying were State Representative Terry Johnson, Ironton attorney Scott Evans, Collins’ son, Ironton Municipal Judge O. Clark Collins, and Common Pleas Judge Charles Cooper.

“I have nothing but support for this,” said Cooper, who was a legislative aide for the senator in the late 1960s. “My roots go way back in my fond feeling for the senator. I had a chance to watch his legislative efforts firsthand.”

Among the legislature Collins, who was first elected to the Statehouse in 1946, sponsored was to put fluoride into the water supply of the state and to lower Ohio’s voting age.

That latter bill was one that Cooper had the opportunity as a page to carry up to the front of the senate when it was introduced.

“It was the bill that changed the age of majority from 21 to 18, which affected me at that time,” Cooper said. “It gave me the ability to vote sooner than under the old law. Those were bills that benefited the entire state of Ohio. The senator was extremely helpful for southern Ohio. But I wouldn’t want anyone to think it wasn’t the entire state. He was looking out for everyone in the state.”

Although construction of the bridge is under the jurisdiction of the Ohio Department of Transportation, naming it is the domain of Columbus.

“It goes through the legislature to name a structure,” Kathleen Fuller, public information officer for ODOT, District 9, said. “Most commonly it is done through the local entity, like the county commission or city government.”

The current bridge got its name from the then bridge commission because it linked Ironton to Russell, Ky. It was never named for an individual, unlike the U.S. Grant Bridge in Portsmouth that was named for the Civil War general and president. That bridge kept its name after it was replaced.

“The reason we didn’t rename it, it has a designation where it is named for someone and we are not putting it in a new location,” Fuller sad. “Ironton-Russell is not named and it is moving to a new location.”

The next step is for the bill to be voted out of committee before coming before the entire House floor.

  1. Digi

    I’m sure there are many worth having the bridge named after, but when it comes down to it. The people’s opinion once again won’t matter. It will just be another political agenda that will just happen one day and we will not know till after the fact. All I can say is notify the powers that be and give them your opinions. Maybe they can write names down throw them in a hat and just draw one out!

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  2. bigkahuna

    B.T.Mooney invested his hard earned money in stock to build the first bridge so why not name it for him?

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  3. Jackyl

    That bridge shouldnt have even been built where it is being built , it should have been tied into US 52 from 23 down in Hanging Rock area. That way Ironton can just go ahead and die then we dont have to worry about naming anything anything.

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  4. Shooter

    Just let it remain The Ironton-Russell Bridge maybe add a 2.

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  5. TribuneSubscriber

    What a ‘WONDERFUL’ man…
    LtCol William C. Lambert…

    I remember as a small child watching the Ironton Memorial Day Parade when Col Lambert rode by in an antique car, I stood out in the street where he could see me and I waved my little flag at him and waved…

    He Gave me a ‘Hand Salute’ and a BIG SMILE in acknowledgement….

    ((Wonderful Memories))

    YES This is/was a ‘MAN’s MAN’… who deserves recognition of naming the new bridge after him…!!!

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  6. TribuneSubscriber

    William C. (Bill) Lambert (August 18, 1894 – March 19, 1982) was an American fighter pilot who flew in World War I. He was probably the second-ranking American ace of World War I. He claimed 18 air-to-air victories, eight fewer than “Ace of Aces” Eddie Rickenbacker and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

    He was born William Carpenter Lambert in Ironton, Ohio. He was the son of Mary and William G. Lambert. Lambert had his first airplane flight in a Wright biplane on 4 July 1910.

    In 1914, Lambert quit his job as a chemist in Buffalo, New York,to go enlist in the Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery. Finding no openings, he took a chemist’s job with Canadian Explosives Limited until 1916. He joined the Royal Flying Corps in early 1917, and sailed for England after completion of his training, on 19 November 1917. He joined No. 24 Squadron RFC on 20 March 1918 flying the Royal Aircraft Factory SE.5a, and, between April and August, scored 18 victories–one observation balloon and 11 aircraft destroyed (with two victories shared),and six driven down out of control (one of which was a shared victory).

    He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.
    Suffering from combat fatigue brought on by a bombing attack on his airfield, he was rotated back to England for medical leave on 20 August 1918 but the war ended before he recovered. One of his prized memorabilia was a piece of red canvas from von Richthofen’s Fokker DR-1 triplane.

    After the war, Lambert did some barnstorming in the Ironton, Ohio area and worked as an engineer. He also was the inventor of a rather unusual “pipe rest” which allowed a smoking pipe to be rested upon the smoker’s chin.
    Lambert joined the U.S. Air Service and served with the Army Air Forces in World War II. He retired in 1954 as a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force.

    After World War, he was a frequent attendee at the RAF contingent’s Battle of Britain celebration at Wright Patterson AF Base in Dayton, Ohio.

    Lambert’s wartime experiences were related in his 1973 memoir Combat Report.

    He died in 1982 aged 87. He and his wife are buried in the Woodland Cemetery, Ironton, Ohio, in a mausoleum that he designed.

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  7. Poor Richard

    Well, if you look at the work conducted by most of our state legislators while they are in Columbus, some of them do nothing but support or pass bills to ‘name’ something. REal productive.

    In my opinion, the bridge is a conduit for hillbilly drug heads to make their way to Ohio and is a great economic boondoggle for Ironton since it sends everyone to KY for purchases that should be made in OHIO.

    If it is to be named maybe a Kentuckian would be a more noteworthy choice, or at least given a name that reflects the culture of the region rather than an ‘individual’. The ‘naming’ of things is irrelevant to me; I don’t call roads or bridges by a person’s name, it’s the 6th street bridge or the 29th street bridge, in fact, I couldn’t tell you all the names and signs tagged to a person – because, well, quite frankly, I don’t care about the name other than it’s directional indication.

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  8. Shooter

    How about naming it the Woodrow Kaiser Bridge….He slept under the old bridge any a night…rain sleet or snow.

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  9. mikehaney

    “Veterans memorial bridge”, Went thru boot camp with Ohio and Kentucky men.
    Great grandfather ,Civil war;father and uncle WWI;two brothers WWII;
    brother,Korean war; me, Vietnam;nephews Iraq and Afganistan.

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  10. swampcreature

    Colonel William C. Lambert, a WW I fighter ace, would make an excellent choice. Bill was born in Ironton and died here. His military exploits brought great honor to his hometown.

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  11. Geronimo

    How much money did he make from mining state property. I’m shure it was much , much more than the $2500 fine when he was caught.Much of the reclaiming was done by the state with tax payer money.I don’t care how many buildings and bridges is named for him. He was what he was. A polition who got rich at the tax payers expence.I’m not knocking him,I actually liked talking with him and he would pull a string for you if you got into trouble , especially if he thought there was a vote in it for him , but he was a crooked polition no better or worse than most.He’s got plenty of things named for him,sounds as if the republicans want to make a Ronald Reagan out of him. Like “Tribune subscriber” and “Ironton cares” ‘Ironton Lawrence County Vetrans Memorial Bridge’ is my choice.Enough of this political names on bridges and School buildings.Did anyone notice that all named are republican? Can’t we get one thing done in lawrence county done that doesn’t involve politics?

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  12. Ironton Cares

    I agree with Tribune Subscriber, he was a crooked man that got by with so much in this County, sure he may had did some good things but it wasn’t fair how he did those things. I wish someone would beat his son out of office, he isn’t fair at all. I think it should be Ironton Lawrence County Veterans Memorial Bridge. But no matter how many respond to this it will be what these so called attorneys and so forth want. I am happy I can at least give my input.

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  13. TribuneSubscriber

    The former/late state senator was two faced when it came to wheeling and dealing in lawrence county. He was a strong supporter of ‘Little Chicago’ and anything that would line his pockets and he not get caught.

    Local Veterans need only be considered for the so-called naming rights for this bridge.

    Consider this – Ironton, Lawrence County Veterans MEMORIAL BRIDGE….
    Dedicated to all veterans Past Present & Future who served their communities.

    (Report comment)

  14. mikehaney

    Ok but we have many local veterans that should also be considered.

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  15. bigkahuna

    He was a very good friend.
    I vote YES.

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  16. outoftowner

    I owe much to the late Senator and his family. With that said, I have always wondered why he did not answer the call to arms in WWII. We have many local heroes who gave their lives for us. A Medal of Honor winner from Blackfork. That is how a bridge should be named for. We have honored The Oak enough, let’s move on. God Bless America.

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  17. But doesn’t he already have many things named after him? Collins Career Center, and a building at OUSC? Things in which he had a great deal of involvement in getting done.

    (Report comment)

  18. Digi

    I say go for it! He was a good man!

    (Report comment)

  19. He had nothing to do with this bridge, so why name it after him?

    (Report comment)

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