Clark Eldridge

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Clark Eldridge (1896–1990) was one of the engineers who designed the first Tacoma Narrows Bridge.

In 1936, Eldridge joined the Washington State Highway Department. He designed two of the state's most colossal bridges, the Lake Washington Floating Bridge and the first Tacoma Narrows Bridge. From the outset, Eldridge considered the Tacoma Narrows Bridge "his bridge." The Washington State Highway Department had challenged him to find money to help build it, and he did. Federal officials decided that Eldridge's design was too expensive, so they required the Washington State Toll Bridge Authority to hire noted suspension bridge engineer Leon Moisseiff of New York as a consultant.

When the Tacoma Narrows Bridge (known as Galloping Gertie) collapsed in 1940, Eldridge accepted some of the blame.

In late 1941 Eldridge worked for the U.S. Navy on Guam when World War II began. He was captured by the Japanese and spent the remainder of the war, three years and nine months, as a POW in a prison of war camp in Japan. There he was recognized by a Japanese officer who had studied in America; he came up to Eldrige and said bluntly, 'Tacoma Bridge!'"[1]


  1. ^ "Weird Facts". Tacoma Narrows Bridge History. Washington State Department of Transportation.

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