The Washington State Department of Transportation last week launched a new history Website on the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. The site is designed for the general community, with special interest features for seventh-grade students.
Found at www.wsdot.wa.gov/TNBhistory/, it is divided into four sections — Art, Machine, People and Connections — and offers several unique features. The Website features stories illustrated with graphics that include historic photos, video clips, and audio clips. Kids can play an interactive game and earn points for hunting out facts and figures. They can amaze their friends with weird facts, pop-ups that give information not found in other history sources and are too good to miss. Or they can talk about Tubby Trivia, information specific to Tubby the Dog, the only fatality when the bridge collapsed.
Each of the four sections provides a different perspective on the history of crossing the Narrows. The Art section focuses on architectural features of the first two Tacoma Narrows bridges and their expression in the community. The Machine section highlights the bridge-building process and bridge parts and their function. The section entitled Connections covers the main historic elements of the crossing, emphasizing the relationship between people and events. The People section talks about the relationships between workers, designers and engineers who built Gertie and the current bridge.
WSDOT has compiled this history study as a condition of the Environmental Impact Statement and Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act as agreed upon between WSDOT, the Federal Highway Administration and the State Historical Preservation Office.