It’s a strange name for a bridge that doesn’t come within 170 miles of the nearest ocean. But once upon a time this little span that physically links Arizona with California over the Colorado River was the only automobile crossing that connected East and West for 1,200 miles. If you wanted to drive from coast to coast in 1915, the Ocean to Ocean bridge was one of the few ways to do it.
Legend has it that during the Great Depression California officials exploited this bottleneck by creating a makeshift immigration checkpoint at the northern end of the bridge. Folks trying to migrate west in search of work found the bridge guarded by California policemen who frequently turned people back. To this day a section of Yuma is called “Okie Town” for the population of Oklahomans who settled there after being turned away at the California border.