Thursday, December 15, 2016

49 years ago

One year from today is the 50th anniversary of the collapse of the Silver Bridge.

A postcard I bought in Gallipolis a few years after the bridge collapsed.

The bridge connected Point Pleasant, W.Va., with Kanauga, Ohio, an unincorporated community just north of Gallipolis, Ohio. To say the bridge's demise was traumatic to both communities is an understatement.

As it happens, the collapse occurred on a Friday evening. Next year, December 15 falls on a Friday. I assume plans are in the works to mark next year's anniversary. Many of the people most associated with the search and recovery efforts have passed away, but many people who are still alive can tell you where they were when they heard the news, just as my mother did regarding Pearl Harbor, some people do about the JFK assassination and some people today do about the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion and 9/11.

When some people talk about the disaster that took 46 lives, they have to bring in the Mothman. My own theory is that the bridge collapse was so bad that the Mothman foolishness ended that night and came back only after the pain of loss eased a bit.

A point of business trivia: The Silver Bridge's location was one reason a restaurant owner by the name of Bob Evans became so successful.

A lot has been written about the Silver Bridge, and more will be written. Many of the reasons we have safe bridges today goes back to what happened 49 years ago. We'll leave it there for now.

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