The Department of Special Collections at the University of Washington has created an excellent online exhibit documenting the rise and (literal) fall of the Tacoma Narrows bridge in Washington State, an event referred to as the Pearl Harbor of engineering. The massive structure was built between 1938 and 1940 and, at the time of its completion, was the third longest suspension bridge in the world. The bridge displayed some notable wavelike motions during the final stages of construction, but no one was prepared for what happened on November 7, 1940, when the entire structure began to buckle, and shortly collapsed into the water below. Amazingly, the only fatality was a dog that was trapped in one of the vehicles on the main span of the bridge. The online exhibit documents this amazing event, with numerous photographs of the bridge under construction, and most incredibly, dramatic shots of the bridge buckling and its fall taken by several bystanders. This exhibit will be of particular interest to engineers, particularly those working in the field of bridge construction.
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