(1) The most recent additions are: An original Galloping Gertie Toll Booth Ticket booklet from 1940, a hard to find 1950 Newspaper edition featuring the Opening Day of Sturdy Gerty, a rare 1950 Narrows Bridge ashtray, and a Unique hand made Narrows bridge plate- all in the BRIDGEABILIA section. Also, an excellent view from the sky of the Opening Day of the 1950 bridge. This is in the PHOTOS 1950 section.
(2) A very rare 1940 Narrows bridge Official Opening booklet that was never been known to exist before. And a unique handmade mailing envelope of the 1940 bridge opening. These are in the BRIDGEABILIA section. Also we have new photos of the 1940 (including a panoramic photo) and 1950 bridges during construction and post-collapse in the PHOTOS sections.
(3) A very significant discovery- an original 1940 Galloping Gertie Sixth Avenue Business Club certificate for the President, and one of the main group of organizations that led the fight to get the bridge built. This unique item can be seen in the BRIDGEABILIA section.
(4) Two original Galloping Gertie photos not seen before. One is a construction shot showing strange smoke coming from the bridge, and the 2nd is a post-collapse shot. These are in the PHOTOS 1940 section. Also, a rare pre-construction newspaper feature that includes both the Narrows and Lake Washington bridges. Only one other example of this paper is known to exist! This is shown in the BRIDGEABILIA section.
(5) Two groups of original press photos from the 1940 and 1950 bridges These show many details not seen before, and they are in the PHOTOS 1940 and PHOTOS 1950 sections. Among the press photos is one of a rather historic fellow- Winfield Brown who was on the bridge & survived the collapse. He was one of the last men to get off the bridge that fateful day in 1940. He can be seen in the PEOPLE section. And in the BRIDGEABILIA section is a hard to find Toll Ticket, a very rare Postal 1st Day Cover from July 1 of 1940, and a couple of unusual postcards.
(6) A News Story on the Harbor History Museum in Gig Harbor, Washington. The museum is excellent, a must-see with great exhibits. Unfortunately, they have Fake Galloping Gertie fragments which are on display at the entrance. To read all about the deception Click Here to go straight to the story.
And another new story about the First Woman in the Machinist's Apprenticeship Program; Jill L. Clark. Hers is a similar story of a determined woman making her way successfully in a so-called man's world. Click Here to go straight to the story.
(8) See the Tacoma Narrows Bridge Funsite's YouTube videos on . We have movies of the new bridge construction, and of Galloping Gertie relics, as well as the Gertie Scale Model.
Recent Narrows Bridges News
(1) A News Story published in the Tacoma News Tribune (Aug. 11, 2012) Rob Carson, Staff Writer;
Tacoma’s famous failed bridge, Galloping Gertie, has had more than its share of bad press since its spectacular collapse into the Tacoma Narrows 72 years ago. On Saturday, it received some high-level praise. At a ceremony at Tacoma’s War Memorial Park, the American Society of Civil Engineers officially declared the 1940 bridge and its 1950 replacement a National Civil Engineering Landmark, a designation also applied to such historic projects as the Erie Canal and the Alaska Highway.
“The 1940 and 1950 bridges represented both tragedy and triumph for civil engineers,” ASCE National President Andrew Herrmann told a small group gathered at the park for the occasion. The first Tacoma Narrows Bridge became a classic lesson used to show the need for diligence and caution in the engineering process, Herrmann said. Its 1950 replacement, built on the foundations of the old bridge and still in service, is a demonstration of the ability of civil engineers to find solutions to difficult problems and put them into practice, he said.
Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland, Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy, and Kevin Dayton, Olympic Region administrator for the Washington State Department of Transportation, also made brief remarks at the ceremony.
A plaque presented by ASCE will be placed on permanent display at the park, which has a view of the 1950 and 2007 bridges.The plaque notes that the 1950 replacement bridge used a more conservative stiffening element and other measures to ensure aerodynamic stability. The result, according to ASCE, was that the two bridges, in combination, became “a pivotal chapter in suspension bridge design and also a lesson for all engineers.”
(2) The 2007 Tacoma Narrows bridge has won a National Award thru the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials. This is the first year of this competition. To see the webpage about this contestClick HereThe story appeared in the Tacoma News Tribune, Aug. 28, 2008.
An important preservation project has been stalled, due to technical difficulties, and tightening of railroad security. The project involves the original 1940 Galloping Gertie construction- which included two concrete cast pours, upon which were installed metal brackets that held retaining cables.
This photo is of the hold-downs when they were new in 1940
The cables were attached to the East span of the first bridge. The hopes were to stabilize the bridge's swaying, and at the time additional plans were quickly drawn up & approved to further stabilize the bridge with deflecting shields mounted to both sides of the bridge girders. Unfortunately, they did not get the time to manufacture or install these shields before the bridge tore apart in November of 1940.
Hold-downs #1 and #2, photo from 2008
Hold-downs #3 and #4, photo from 2008
The concrete bases and attached metal brackets are still in existance, though worn by time & exposure to the elements. The hillside has also been engulfing these two glimpses back in time, as the earth has been settling at the bottom, and threatens to bury them. The project is to excavate, or remove the earth away from the two "structures", to prevent their total loss. The National Historic Preservation designation of the original Galloping Gertie remains only applies to the underwater remnants, therefore this above-ground site is not protected. The very difficult project of removing the vegetation and encroaching earth from this not-yet historically recognized site is yet to be funded.
Unfortunately, the work has been temporarily halted, in part because of a train derailment that occured in April just north of this location, and the resulting tightened security from this event, as well as the number of people that have been hit by trains in the Northwest area. These unrelated tragedies have forced the railroad to step up safety & inspections, and their efforts to keep the public away from the train tracks. The derailment may have been an intentional act, but it is more likely simply due to wear & tear of the rails, and the loosening of tie fasteners (which I have noted in many areas of Tacoma's tracks). And the death of people standing on the tracks is an obvious disregard for one's own safety. All of these occurances are avoidable accidents that have far-reaching effects beyond the loss of life. However, the safety of the public, and the railroad takes precidence over things such as my preservation project, and I am in co-operation with the railroad in this matter. I hope to be allowed to return to this project when the railroad regains the safety factor it once had.
Seen in the images above was the first step in this project; excavating hold-down #1, which took place on March 25, 2008. The amount of metal deterioration at the bottom of the brackets and large bolt shafts is more than was expected, and further verifies the need for this project. Without preservation, these genuine parts of Galloping Gertie may be lost permanently.
* UPDATE *: The BNSF Railway Company, who owns the property has agreed to allow the removal of these unique parts of history. This would allow for the hold-down's parts to be properly preserved, it would remove them from their being exposed to further deterioration & vandalism. Unfortunately, the Harbor History Museum has stated that they do not have funds at this time to undertake this project. If any viewer has a suggestion for this project to get funded, please send an email message.