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Galloping Gertie


Sedalia Dave
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How a dog bite led to the only death during the infamous Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapse.

 

 

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TACOMA, Wash. -- It was 81 years ago Sunday that a windstorm would first turn the months-old Tacoma Narrows Bridge into an extreme version of "Galloping Gertie," then lead to its spectacular demise as the bridge collapsed into Puget Sound below.

 

Miraculously, no people died, but the bridge did claim a life: Tubby, a three-legged black Cocker Spaniel that remained trapped in his car as the bridge wobbled, then fell.

 

 

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It wouldn't have happened if they had consulted famous aerodynamicist Dr. Theodore von Karmen. Consulted afterward he told them that the way it was designed there was no way for the wind to pass through parts of the structure. He was often heard to say, "I schudy der wint!"  His work was responsible for a lot of aerospace design work.  The line recognized as the division between the atmosphere and space at 62 miles (100km) is known as the "Karmen line"!

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When I was in High School one of my science teachers showed a film about this bridge the day after one kid in the class asked why he should pay attention to math and science in school. I am not sure where that guy ended up, but the lesson made an impact on me.

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It's not nice to fool Mother Nature!

 

This was still common knowledge and the film was shown periodically when I was in school (1st -3rd grades) in Toppenish.

 

When I was stationed At Fort Lewis in 1963 a couple of us drove over to look at it.  Nothing to see and we often wondered if we were in the right place

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6 minutes ago, Forty Rod SASS 3935 said:

It's not nice to fool Mother Nature!

 

This was still common knowledge and the film was shown periodically when I was in school (1st -3rd grades) in Toppenish.

 

When I was stationed At Fort Lewis in 1963 a couple of us drove over to look at it.  Nothing to see and we often wondered if we were in the right place

 

The original center span of the bridge deck is lying on the bottom of the Narrows under about 30 fathoms of water. The remaining deck and supporting towers were too damaged for reuse. Because steel was needed to support the war effort, they were dismantled and recycled.

 

It is a popular diving site and has become an artificial reef. It's a protected site and removing pieces of the bridge is illegal.

 

It is included in the National List of Historic Places.

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27 minutes ago, Sedalia Dave said:

The original center span of the bridge deck is lying on the bottom of the Narrows under about 30 fathoms of water. The remaining deck and supporting towers were too damaged for reuse. Because steel was needed to support the war effort, they were dismantled and recycled.

 

It is a popular diving site and has become an artificial reef. It's a protected site and removing pieces of the bridge is illegal.

 

It is included in the National List of Historic Places.

 

Makes you wonder if anyone ever tried looking for the car and what might be left of the dog.

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24 minutes ago, Sixgun Sheridan said:

 

Makes you wonder if anyone ever tried looking for the car and what might be left of the dog.

 

As far as I can tell the car nor Tubby's remains have ever been located. The depth of the water combined with the strong tidal currents in the Narrows made finding the car after the collapse impossible. I suspect that corrosion has eliminated any identifiable traces of the car making a search with the tools of today fruitless. 

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1 hour ago, Forty Rod SASS 3935 said:

It's not nice to fool Mother Nature!

 

When I was stationed At Fort Lewis in 1963 a couple of us drove over to look at it.  Nothing to see and we often wondered if we were in the right place

 The new Narrows Bridge would have been there; it was built in 1950 in the same place.

 

Now there's a second suspension bridge next to it, finished just a few years back:

 

https://www.bing.com/images/search?view=detailV2&ccid=mRlmyr71&id=76F57A127EA9BDF94524FAFE33906F1DA3A2E0EA&thid=OIP.mRlmyr71_URjQDKI5stSrwHaE7&mediaurl=https%3a%2f%2fupload.wikimedia.org%2fwikipedia%2fcommons%2fthumb%2f1%2f1a%2fTacoma_Narrows_Bridge_2009.jpg%2f1200px-Tacoma_Narrows_Bridge_2009.jpg&cdnurl=https%3a%2f%2fth.bing.com%2fth%2fid%2fR.991966cabef5fd4463403288e6cb52af%3frik%3d6uCiox1vkDP%2b%2bg%26pid%3dImgRaw%26r%3d0&exph=799&expw=1200&q=tacoma+narrows+bridge&simid=608043717170317418&FORM=IRPRST&ck=A3480B96FD1555B381E9D656CADC21FD&selectedIndex=8&ajaxhist=0&ajaxserp=0

Edited by Red Gauntlet , SASS 60619
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8 minutes ago, Sedalia Dave said:

 

As far as I can tell the car nor Tubby's remains have ever been located. The depth of the water combined with the strong tidal currents in the Narrows made finding the car after the collapse impossible. I suspect that corrosion has eliminated any identifiable traces of the car making a search with the tools of today fruitless. 

and covered with a lot mud and sediment from the current.

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6 hours ago, Sedalia Dave said:

 

The original center span of the bridge deck is lying on the bottom of the Narrows under about 30 fathoms of water. The remaining deck and supporting towers were too damaged for reuse. Because steel was needed to support the war effort, they were dismantled and recycled.

 

It is a popular diving site and has become an artificial reef. It's a protected site and removing pieces of the bridge is illegal.

 

It is included in the National List of Historic Places.

An interesting bit of trivia, is that some of the portions salvaged ended up as a bridge in the Alaska Highway.

And it collapsed for a second time in the 1960's.

Source of info was my Father, an RCAF PR officer n the 1960s when it went down. 

He was also the official RCAF photographer during the building of the Highway, 20 odd years before!

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