The City of Round Rock has updated the Mays Street Bridge in honor of ten Baylor basketball team members who were killed in a crash there in 1927.
90 years ago, members of the Baylor basketball team were on their way to take on the Longhorns. With just under 20 miles to go, a train crashed into the side of their bus cutting short the lives of ten players, coaches and fans.
“I feel it really puts it in perspective how fast life can go and how unpromised it is. So it really shows, I think, all of the students at Baylor just to live each day as if it is your last,” said Baylor Sophomore Tiger Maddox.
Since that tragic day, Baylor and Round Rock have had a special connection, but until now there was never much of a memorial in Round Rock for those who died, called The Immortal Ten.
“It really was a historic event, not just for Round Rock, which Round Rock was a tiny little community at the time, but it was such an important event for the state of Texas and the nation, that we really needed to make sure that we were properly giving it its due and commemorating it,” said Round Rock Mayor Alan McGraw.
Because of the crash, the Mays Street Bridge in Round Rock was actually the first railroad overpass built in Texas. The Mayor of Round Rock hopes that by adding plaques for each person who died those walking over the bridge will remember the ten lives that were lost 90 years ago.
“People just don't know about it and Round Rock is such a fast growing community that most of the people have no idea about this tragedy. And so this was our way of really memorializing it and making sure people are aware of it,” said McGraw.
For Baylor student Tiger Maddox the memorial bridge is a reminder not only of what her fellow students went through, but also her family.
“I'm the great granddaughter of Joe Potter, the bus driver,” said Maddox.
Potter did survive the crash, but he was forever affected by the horror he saw that dreary Saturday.
“I had no idea the connection I had because he liked to keep it a secret because it brought so much pain to him, and so I wasn't sure until I applied to Baylor, I just knew that I was called there for some reason. And so this is phenomenal just to get to pick up the pieces of his broken heart that he left on that campus,” Maddox said.
Now, almost a century after the Baylor community said goodbye to some of their own, students are able to find hope in honor of the ten lives lost.
“I think when I look at these plaques, I think about the legacy I want to leave at Baylor. So I think all ten of these men left such an incredible mark on our university and so I think about who do I want to be to leave that same mark on our university,” said Baylor student body president Lindsey Bacque.
The Round Rock mayor said Union Pacific Railroad donated $100,000 to update the bridge. That’s about what it cost to add plaques for each of the men who died and stripe the bridge in gold and green, Baylor’s school colors.