Tacoma Historical Society exhibit spotlights iconic Tacoma bridges

The Tacoma Historical Society will unveil a new exhibit this month that explores the historic significance of Tacoma's bridges.

The Tacoma Historical Society will unveil a new exhibit this month that explores the historic significance of Tacoma’s bridges.

“Tacoma is known around the world for the disastrous collapse of the first Tacoma Narrows Bridge,” said Chris Erlich, guest curator of the new exhibit entitled Spanning Tacoma. “However, Tacoma also has a fascinating history of other bridges such as the World’s Longest Bicycle Bridge, the iconic Murray Morgan Bridge, and now the Bridge of Glass. Perhaps more importantly, Tacoma’s bridges have created vital connections, while adapting to changing transportation needs.”

Tacoma’s waterways and deep gulches presented challenges to an expanding city during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, according to Tacoma Historical Society officials. Tacoma’s bridges – designed for trains, trolleys, pedestrians, autos, and bicycles – linked industry to city, and neighborhood to neighborhood.

“We’re fortunate to have a copy of 1938-1939 bridge construction video footage donated to Tacoma Historical Society by John Woodworth,” said Tacoma Historical Society president Bill Baarsma, referring to construction of the first Tacoma Narrows Bridge approximately 75 years ago. “We were surprised to see images of workers trudging on and off the emerging bridge structure pushing handwheelbarrows filled with concrete for the bridge decking. The first Tacoma Narrows Bridge was built with intensive manual labor, truly a credit to our hard-working community.”

The Tacoma Historical Society will host a series of events in conjunction with the exhibit:


An opening reception for Spanning Tacoma will be held on Tues., July 14, between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m., at the Tacoma Historical Society Museum, located at 919 Pacific Ave., in downtown Tacoma. The exhibit will run through Nov. 28, 2015.

More information is available online at tacomahistory.org.


To read the Tacoma Daily Indexs complete and comprehensive coverage of the Tacoma Historical Society, click on the following links:

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