Tacoma Narrows Bridge history - Resources


Selected websites

WSDOT - Current traffic conditions on the bridge

WSDOT - Environmental Affairs Office
Includes PDF file of HAER (Historic Architecture and Engineering Record) WA-99 for Tacoma Narrows Bridge.

U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration
FHWA is charged with the broad responsibility of ensuring that America's roads and highways continue to be the safest and most technologically up-to-date.

State Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation
Located in the Local Government Division of the Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development, a Cabinet-level agency managed by a Governor-appointed Director.

City of Tacoma
Information about Tacoma's many facets - its climate and environment, local government, neighborhoods, business districts, schools, transportation system, and history.

Harbor History Museum
"A Tale of Two Gerties: How and Why We Bridged the Narrows," on-line exhibit.

Tacoma Narrows and Suspension Bridges on PBS, Nova online
Includes video of Galloping Gertie in oscillation action.

University of Washington Libraries
On-line exhibit of 190 images gives the story of the construction, collapse and rebuilding of the bridge.

Sites on 1940 Narrows Bridge and collapse

Bristol University (United Kingdom)

Bridge basics

Bridges, suspension bridges, oscillation

Bridge Basics - A Spotter's Guide to Bridge Design
Very basic; describes common bridge types, with illustrations; bridge terminology.

Bridge Building - Art and Science
This site describes the structures of the most common types of bridge with photos and web links. Topics are illustrated by diagrams or photographs. Several programs, some interactive, may be downloaded to provide further insight.

Many links to bridge-related sites, plus discussion forums, software, photos and events.

Bridge Engineering Home Page
Links to government agencies, universities, and private entities involved in bridge engineering.

Links to other bridges

Bronx-Whitestone Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge

London Tower Bridge
Official site of one of the most famous bridges in the world, with lots of facts and figures.

Menai Strait Bridge

San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge
An excellent bridge history site.

Strait of Messina Bridge

Wheeling Suspension Bridge

Archives and Museum Collections

Harbor History Museum
Tacoma Narrows Bridge collection; includes photographs by James Bashford and Joe Gotchy, scrapbooks, newspaper clippings and articles. Includes the famous image of the bridge collapsing taken by Bashford. Also, records of United Infrastructure relating to construction of the 1950 Tacoma Narrows Bridge.

National Archives
Washington, D.C.
Public Works Administration; Tacoma Narrows Bridge, project files
FWA project files about the investigation into the collapse of the Tacoma Narrows bridge. Includes correspondence (400 pages), newspaper clippings (200) regarding the collapse and the investigation.

University of Washington - Manuscripts, Archives & Special Collections.
Includes records of Engineering Experiment Station, F. B. Farquharson, Collection.

Washington State Archives
Records of the Washington State Department of Transportation ("Galloping Gertie Collection), Washington State Toll Bridge Authority; large collection including photos and drawings.

Washington State Department of Transportation
Includes photographs by Alfred Simmer, newspaper clippings, and other published information.

Washington State Historical Society
Includes large number of historic photographs, newspaper clippings, and other published information related to the 1940 and 1950 bridges.

WSDOT Public History Display

A Tale of Three Bridges is a retrospective exhibit that highlights the construction of the 1940 and 1950 bridges and the new bridge that will open to traffic in spring 2007. The original six-foot tall panels first appeared at the 2004 Puyallup Fair.

Composite Display - 1940, 1950, 2007 Bridges (pdf 552 kb)
High quality pdf document for print.

Panel #1 - 1940 Bridge
Construction of the infamous bridge known to people worldwide as "Galloping Gertie" began in early 1938 with bridge opening to the public on November 7, 1940 before collapsing four months later.

Panel #2 - 1950 Bridge
Crews who constructed the second bridge built the towers and deck on the original piers of the first bridge.

Panel #3 - 2007 Bridge
Six decades after the first Narrows Bridge collapsed into Puget Sound, a the third span that runs parallel to the 1950 bridge is on the rise.