Galloping Gertie’s Rise and Fall

The first Tacoma Narrows bridge was locally known as “Galloping Gertie,” since its slender design lacked stabilizing girders, causing it to twist and bounce in the wind. The bridge opened on July 1, 1940, after 29 months of construction and $18 million invested. On the first day of operations, 2,053 crossed the bridge after an inaugural parade of vehicles led by Gov. Clarence D. Martin and Tacoma Mayor Harry P. Cain. But Gertie’s life would be short-lived. A little over four months later, on Nov. 7 of the same year, the bridge collapsed during a massive windstorm. In 1950, the bridge was replicated with a more stable design, and remains an iconic landmark of the South Sound to this day.

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