Grampa Noll at Gig Harbor, WA

6. The Day the Bridge Fell Down - 1940

On occasions while living with my Grampa Noll, we would travel into Seattle. I'm not sure why we went but it was always a great adventure for us. He had a 1937 Plymouth sedan by this time and I was six years old. The government had constructed a new bridge across the Narrows from Gig Harbor to Tacoma. In the past we had to ride the ferryboat to get across. That was an adventure for we three boys as well.

On this trip we took the toll bridge. It has been in place for almost a year. As we slowly drove across the bridge, Grampa always drove slowly, I noticed that the car ahead of us would disappear from view and then reappear after a bit of time. This intrigued my young scientific mind. I asked my Grampa why this was happening. He explained that the bridge was waving up and down and that was the way it was supposed to be.

After some time in Seattle, we headed back to the farm near Gig Harbor. When we got back to the bridge it wasn't there. Asked my Grampa, "What happened to the bridge?" He replied that he thought that maybe they were working on it. We took the ferry home that day. It was much later that I discovered that the Tacoma Narrows Bridge has shaken so badly that day that it had fallen down into the water a little less than a year after it was constructed. They never did close the bridge until after it fell down. A car was on it when it fell but the man crawled to safety.

The Day the Brifge Fell