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These are some of the people involved in the making of the Tacoma Narrows Bridges, some are dignitaries and officials, some are construction workers, some are photographers, and some were just invited on the bridge to get their picture taken.
This is the 1940 Bridge Engineer's signature, Clark Eldridge.
This is one of the 1940 Bridge builder's signature, Ralph T. Keenan of Pacific Bridge Company.
This is a construction man's signature that worked on both the 1940 and 1950 bridges, Joe Gotchy. Photo by the Peninsula Gateway.
Below is a photo by Jack Durkee, of Joe Gotchy as Joe dogged the drum inside the traveler. This photo is from Joe Gotchy, and provided courtesy of Joe's grandson; Tom Gotchy.
This is the autograph and a campaign button on a photograph of the Washington State Governor, Clarence D. Martin, who rode in the 1st car across the bridge on Opening Day 7/1/1940.
This is the Mayor of Tacoma's signature and photograph, Harry P. Cain, who rode in the 1st car across the bridge on Opening Day 7/1/1940.
This is the autograph & photo of Homer T. Bone, the U.S. Senator who introduced legislation in 1934 which provided for federal funds to build the bridge.
The photo below is of Frances B. Carlson, the last driver to successfully cross the 1940 Narrows bridge just before it collapsed. Her Full Feature Story, with more photos & info can be seen by clicking here
Frances Borgen Carlson Feature Story
Seen here is a survivor of the bridge collapse; Winfield Brown. He spent 10 cents to walk on the bridge Nov. 7th, and he got the ride of his life when the deck started to crumble & he crawled to safety. The photo was taken on Nov. 9th, where he shows the cuts & bruises he suffered while getting off the bridge just before it collapsed. He mentioned to the toll collector that day as he got off the bridge that the toll was 10 cents each way; and that he had not paid the return toll- but the collector told him "Skip it".
The 1950 bridge engineer was Charles E. Andrew. Here is his signature, and a photo of him.
This is one of the ironworkers that built the 1950 bridge, Earl R. White.
Here are two important people from the 1940 bridge, The mystery is solved! This is Senator Homer T. Bone, and the man behind him could be his assistant. Notice that the main cable that Senator Bone is leaning on has not yet been completed. This venture onto the bridge construction was just as risky for these 2 men as the workers, perhaps more so as the Senator & the other man are wearing suits, they most likely were wearing dress shoes too. Very dangerous, and with no safety lines to protect them. Today's standards would never allow visitors onto a project such as this without protection.
This group of men posed in front of the 1940 bridge during the construction. The man squatting on the left wearing the hard hat may be Charles Andrew, the consulting engineer for the Washington Toll Bridge Authority. Is that Lacey V. Murrow of the Washington State Highway Department to the right of him?
These are the same group of men as seen in the above 1940 photo, before the photographer had them bunch together for a closer picture.
The photo below was obtained from a different source- but it was the same day as the above pictures. Senator Bone is addressing the crowd of dignitaries on January 10, 1940, before he and others took a tour of the bridge in progress.
A classic photo is shown below, of Harry Takehara on the left, and Art Knoll on the right working on the catwalks for the 1950 bridge. This job was never for the faint-at-heart. These men are nearly 500 feet above the water, and ironically it was standard to wear hard hats, but little to no safety harnesses. Though it makes you wonder- what could possibly hit them on the head up there?
Seen here are Harry Enos on the left, and Henry Christian on the right working high above the water. This photo was taken during the 1950 bridge construction before the cable spinning had begun, and it is dated October 13, 1949. Note that neither man has any safety lines on- one small slip and they could have ended up falling to their death.
Below are some of the crew that built the 1950 bridge. This photo is courtesy of Earl R. White, and it was taken by him during the construction.
Another on-the-edge photo is seen below, this one was taken by Joe Gotchy. Woody Wood is on the left, and Hank Meir is in the right as they both straddle a beam being worked on. The photo was taken by Joe Gotchy, and provided courtesy of Joe's grandson; Tom Gotchy.
Some of Joe's co-workers are seen below. From left to right, starting at the rear row is Hank Meir, Frank Butler, Bill Vogel (?), front row is Doyle Dunn (?), Hap Shaffer, and Woody Wood (?). They were part of the west midspan traveler crew. The photo was most likely taken by Joe around late April or early May of 1950.
Perched on a beam, with no safety lines on him at all, Hal Mousseau pounds a pin in. What doesn't show in photos such as this, is the photographer; Joe Gotchy, who also most likely had no safety lines on either- yet he was looking thru a camera viewfinder.
In the shot below George Hicklen pauses while using a rivet gun in order to smile for the camera. Note he has safety goggles on to prevent flying bits of metal from hitting him in the eyes.
From what Joe Gotchy describes in his book, Pinetree Colby was the most loveable guy, with the worst job. Dealing with high volumes of noise, and working in cramped spaces he was the riveter's bucker-up. He was on the opposite side of the rivet gun, keeping the rivets in place.
The photo below was taken by Jack Durkee, and shows from left to right: Doyle Dunn, Joe Gotchy, Hal Mousseau, Bill Vogel, Hank Meir, Woody Wood, Hap Shaffer, and Frank Butler. This picture is in Joe's book "Bridging The Narrows".
Joe Gotchy had an opportunity to revisit the 1950 Narrows bridge, and he posed for this photo with Bob Beard on the left, and Jon Moergen on the right, of the bridge maintenance crew.
Warren Medak is the man standing next to the cable saddle, behind Bob Beard in the shot below. Warren also worked on the 1940 & 1950 bridge's construction.
Even with a tough job, these two riveters (unidentified) are happy with their work. The pride really carried thru most all the workers on this bridge, and they showed it while getting their pictures taken.
Another crew photo is seen below, and this is the end of the Joe Gotchy photos group, courtesy of Tom Gotchy. A couple of the men are identified. George Hicklin is on the left, and L. Cox is in the center.
Three of the men seen below are hard at work on a main suspension cable for the 1950 bridge, while the fourth man, Harry Takehara smiles for the camera.
This set of photos has 3 bridge photographers in front of the camera instead of behind it. The photographer at the top is looking down the tower to see how far it is to the cold waters below. A good rule-of-thumb when one is on a bridge still being built- Don't Look Down!
A photographer shoots another while both are on a catwalk.
Here are all 3 photographers together enjoying the view on top of the 1950 bridge. A construction worker was probably asked to snap this photo.
Two of the three photographers on the catwalk, while the third snaps the photo.
This looks just plain dangerous. Neither man has any safety gear on, and one is standing on top of the main cable while holding on to only a reel suspended from above.
If this isn't worse than the dangerous guys in the above photo, then nothing is. The photo below is of a steelworker named William J. Matthews standing on his head at the top of a tower. Yes, on top of the Tacoma Narrows bridge tower- more than 500 feet above the water, and he is doing a head stand! He did it "just for laughs" according to the headline. This insane stunt was done by him on October 18, 1950, just as the bridge was opening after completion. This is not a fake- this really happened!