Tacoma Narrows Bridge History Website
Tacoma Narrows Bridge resources


The Bridge as a Connection

Why were the
bridges built?

The Bridge as Machine

How did they
build the bridges?

The Bridge as Art

Why do the bridges
look like they do?
  People of the Bridge
Who designed
the bridges?

A Tale of Three Bridges - 1940

"Galloping Gertie" - This First Narrows Bridge

Opening day, July 1, 1940. The bridge cost $6.4 million; tolls started at 55 cents and were cut to 50 cents two months later when the bonds were refinanced.

It's been more than six decades since the first Narrows Bridge opened to traffic and then, four months later, collapsed violently into Puget Sound. Come summer 2005, the bridge that now lies as wreckage on the Narrows seabed, will commemorate its 65th anniversary.

When it opened July 1, 1940, elegant and graceful span stretched like a steel ribbon across Puget Sound. It boasted the distinction of being the world's third largest suspension bridge. It's completion marked a turning point in the history of Peninsula residents by ending decades of isolation and fueling economic growth.

Around the world people know the tale of Galloping Gertie. It stood for four short months, its deck flexing and rolling before tearing apart in a windstorm.

Click any image below to enlarge it, and bring up more information. 
The Narrows and Lady Gertie.   Caisson in tow.   1940 caisson lags in place.   Dredging the Narrows.
Standing like sentries in the Narrows.   Anchorage Construction.   The making of suspension cables.   Building the Deck.
Opening day, July 1, 1940.   Thursday, November 7, 1940.


» 1950 Panel
» 2007 Panel

About the images:
Photos on this panel are courtesy of the Gig Harbor Peninsula Historical Society.

About the content:
Some content in this exhibit has been excerpted and/or paraphrased from the Gig Harbor Museum's exhibit titled A Tale of Two Bridge.

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