Titlow Tales and Galloping Gertie

Titlow Tales and Galloping Gertie

On this day 80 years ago, the Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapsed in a wind storm. Details on the bridge’s short history, the wind storm that brought down the structure and its impact on civil engineering in the US can be found in this column written by the Tacoma Historical Society. Additional information on the bridge, including photos can be found here.

Tales of Tacoma

November 7, 2020 marks the 80th anniversary of the collapse of the first Tacoma Narrows Bridge, also known as “Galloping Gertie.” In honor of that anniversary, Dale Wirsing, a longtime Tacoma Historical Society board member, has been kind enough to share his memories of that day in the account that follows.

It was in 1938 or thereabouts that Vern and Hazel Wirsing moved from Tacoma’s Manitou neighborhood to a rather rural University Place – bringing with them their 2-year-old son. A son they had named Dale Robert Wirsing. That of course was me. My sister Linda would arrive two years later.

I’ve had a connection with the Narrows Bridges nearly all my life. Work started on the first bridge even before my family moved to University Place.

The first bridge – the one that became known as “Galloping Gertie” — lasted only four months and splashed into the history books…

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