Thomas Neill bridge construction photograph and ephemera collection, 1939-1940  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Collector
Neill, Thomas W
Title
Thomas Neill bridge construction photograph and ephemera collection
Dates
1939-1940 (inclusive)
Quantity
165 photographic prints (3 boxes) ; sizes vary
Collection Number
PH0011
Summary
Photographs, pamphlets, and fact sheets on the planning and construction of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge and the Lake Washington Floating Bridge, 1939-1940; collected by Thomas W. Neill.
Repository
University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections
Special Collections
University of Washington Libraries
Box 352900
Seattle, WA
98195-2900
Telephone: 206-543-1929
Fax: 206-543-1931
speccoll@uw.edu
Access Restrictions

Collection is open to the public.

Languages
English
Sponsor
Funding for encoding this finding aid was partially provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Thomas W. Neill was director of public relations for the Washington State Toll Bridge Authority during the construction of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge and the Lake Washington Floating Bridge.

Historical BackgroundReturn to Top

Construction of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge began in Nov., 1938. The bridge opened on July 1, 1940, to public acclaim. Lauded as an essential economic and military portal to the Olympic Peninsula, its completion was called a triumph of man's ingenuity and perseverance. It had been completed in record time and, with a 2,800 ft. central span, was the third largest span in the world. Immediately upon its opening it began swaying in the wind, which earned it the nickname “Galloping Gertie.” Four months after it opened to the public the bridge fell, in what was later called "the Pearl Harbor of engineering."

Construction on the Lake Washington Floating Bridge began Dec. 29, 1939, and was completed on July 2, 1940. At the time of construction, the Lake Washington Floating Bridge was the largest floating structure ever built by man and the first reinforced concrete floating roadway bridge ever built.

Prior to construction of the Lake Washington Floating Bridge, the only routes from the east side of the lake to Seattle were around Lake Washington to the north or south. The floating design was chosen for two reasons. First, Lake Washington has an unstable floor and it was doubtful that any foundation for concrete piers could be found within a reasonable depth. Second, at the time of construction, the cost for an orthodox type of bridge from the west shore of Lake Washington to Mercer Island would have been approximately $18,000,000—almost five times the cost of a floating bridge covering the same distance.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The collection consists of photographs and ephemera that document the planning and construction of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge and the Lake Washington Floating Bridge (later renamed the Lacey V. Murrow Memorial Bridge) between 1939 and 1940. Included are photographs of related drawings and maps, as well as portraits of engineers and others involved in the projects. The items were collected by Thomas Neill, and many of the photographs were created by Simmer.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

 

Tacoma Narrows Bridge Album, 1939-1940Return to Top

All photographs in box 1 were made by Alfred G. Simmer unless otherwise indicated.

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder item
1/1 1 June 30-July 4, 1940
1/2 2
 Aerial view map of proposed route of Tacoma Narrows Bridge
Gilmore, R. M (artist)
Photograph of drawing.
1/3 3
Drawing of proposed Tacoma Narrows Bridge superimposed on photograph of proposed site of bridge
1/4 4
Proposed Tacoma Narrows Bridge
Photograph of drawing.
1/5 5
 Aerial view of Tacoma Narrows Bridge
Lovegren & Gilmore (artist)
Photograph of drawing.
1/6 6-8
1/7 9
 Cable anchor under bridge approach
Gilmore, R. M (artist)
1/8 10 Mar. 28, 1939
1/9 11
Construction view of caisson for pier 4
Mar. 28, 1939
1/10 12
Pier 4 construction, looking east
Aug. 10, 1939
1/11 13 Aug. 10, 1939
1/12 14
Pier 5 construction, looking west toward pier 4
Aug. 24, 1939
1/13 15
Pier 5 construction, looking west toward pier 4
Sept. 7, 1939
1/14 16
Pier 4 tower, looking east
Sept. 7, 1939
1/15 17
[Concrete plant for bridge construction?]
1/16 18
Pier towers under construction, looking east
Oct. 20, 1939
1/17 19
Pier towers with tram assembly for cable spinning operation
Jan. 10, 1940
1/18 20 Jan. 10, 1940
1/19 21
Spinning tower and bridge at east anchorage
Jan. 10, 1940
1/20 22 Jan. 10, 1940
1/21 23
View of bridge showing roadway in place
1/22 24
 Ceremony for spinning of first cable wire
(L to R) Everett T. Smith, President of Chamber of Commerce; John Schlarb, Chairman, Board of County Commissioners; Mayor J.J. Kaufman; Mrs. Doc Weathers; Lacey V. Murrow, State Highway Director; Adm. Luther E. Gregory, State Liquor Board Head; Charles E. Andrew, Principal Consulting Engineer; Cliff Yelle, State Auditor.
Jan. 10, 1940
1/23 25
Hydraulic unreeling machines at east anchorage
Jan. 10, 1940
1/24 26
Anchor bar installation, east anchorage
July 13, 1939
1/25 27
West anchorage construction
Aug. 24, 1939
1/26 28 Mar. 5, 1940
1/27 29-30 Mar. 5, 1940
1/28 31 Mar. 5, 1940
1/29 32a-e

Lake Washington Floating Bridge Album, 1939-1940Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder item
2/1 33
2/2 34
Map showing proposed route of State Highway 2
2/3 35
Cliff Yelle, state auditor
2/4 36
Don Abel, director of public service
2/5 37
2/5 38
P.H. Winston, secretary, Washington Toll Bridge Authority
2/6 39
Charles E. Andrew, principal consulting engineer
2/6 40
R.B. McMinn, bridge engineer, Public Roads Administration
2/7 41
R.H. Thompson, consulting engineer
2/7 42
L.E. Gregory, rear admiral, U.S. Navy, ret.
2/8 43
L.R. Durkee, acting project engineer, Public Works Administration
2/8 44
R.M. Murray, Lake Washington Bridge engineer
2/9 45
Charles E. Andrews, principal consulting engineer
2/10 46
R.M. Murray, Lake Washington Bridge engineer
2/11 47
Board of consulting engineers, Lake Washington Floating Bridge Project
Alfred G. Simmer (photographer)
(L to R) R.H. Thomson, Adm. L.E. Gregory, C.E. Andrew, R.B. McMinn.
Feb. 14, 1940
2/12 48
Members of designing department, Lake Washington Bridge Project headquarters office
Alfred G. Simmer (photographer)
(Rear, L to R) J.W. Gould, F.E. Brown, F.E. Swanson, O.B. Fields, R.G. Day, C. McClure, H.C. Witte, E.E. Van Ness; (front, L to R) J.H. Pearce, H.P. O’Reilly, W.B. Porter, L.J. Lovegren, E.B. Wooliscroft, C.E. Corser, B.V. Christy, T.B. Allen.
Feb. 17, 1940
2/13 49
Speakers' group at Lake Washington Floating Bridge dedication ceremony
Alfred G. Simmer (photographer)
July 2, 1940
2/14-15 50-51 July 2, 1940
2/16 52 July 2, 1940
2/17 53 July 2, 1940
2/18 54 July 2, 1940
2/19 55
Floating bridge, looking southeast, units 3, 4, 5
Alfred G. Simmer (photographer)
July 9, 1940
2/20 56
 Floating bridge, looking northeast, unit 2
Alfred G. Simmer (photographer)
Aug. 5, 1940
2/21 57
2/22 58
2/23 59
2/24 60
 Sodium vapor lamp on floating structure, unit 4
Alfred G. Simmer (photographer)
May 11, 1940
2/25 61
Map of proposed route of State Highway 2 and Lake Washington Floating Bridge
2/26 62
Aerial view map of proposed route of State Highway 2 and Lake Washington Floating Bridge
R.M. Gilmore (artist)
Photograph of drawing.
2/27 63
Aerial view map of proposed route of State Highway 2 and Lake Washington Floating Bridge, from the northwest
R.M. Gilmore (artist)
Photograph of drawing.
2/28 64
Aerial photograph with proposed route of Lake Washington Floating Bridge and State Highway 2 drawn in
2/29 65
Topographic aerial view map of proposed route of State Highway 2 and Lake Washington Floating Bridge
2/30 66
Lake Washington Floating Bridge proposed west approach to Seattle and the tunnel plaza
Lloyd Lovegren (artist)
Photograph of drawing.
2/31 67
 Lake Washington Floating Bridge east tunnel plaza at 35th Avenue
Lloyd Lovegren (artist)
Photograph of drawing.
2/32 68
Lake Washington Floating Bridge span
R.M. Gilmore (artist)
Photograph of drawing.
Two copies.
2/33 69 Oct. 9, 1940
2/34 70 Oct. 9, 1940
2/35 71
On floating structure at east side of navigation channel, looking west, draw open, unit 4
Alfred G. Simmer (photographer)
Oct. 9, 1940
2/36 72 Oct. 2, 1940
2/37 73
East tunnel portal and plaza, looking west, unit 2
Alfred G. Simmer (photographer)
Sept. 30, 1940
2/38 74
 East portal of tunnels at night, unit 2
Alfred G. Simmer (photographer)
Oct. 22, 1940
2/39 75
2/40 76
Night view inside north tunnel, looking west, unit 2
Alfred G. Simmer (photographer)
Oct. 22, 1940
2/41 77 June 10, 1940
2/42 78
At station 216, looking east towards overpass at 100th Avenue, unit 7
Alfred G. Simmer (photographer)
June 10, 1940
2/43 79
Operating elements of floating draw section, hauling mechanism
2/44 80
Aerial view of proposed floating draw section
2/45 81a-b
Cross-section of Lake Washington Floating Bridge, showing pontoon structure
Lloyd Lovegren (artist)
Photograph of drawing.
2/46 82
Section of bridge with side removed to show cellular structure
R.M. Gilmore (artist)
Photograph of drawing.
2/47 83
Two drawings and one photo showing anchor cable structure
R.M. Gilmore (artist)
2/48 84
  Tunnel portals
Lloyd Lovegren (artist)
Photograph of drawing.
2/49 85
 Tunneling procedure and dimensions of tunnels
R.M. Gilmore (artist)
Photograph of drawing.
2/50 86
Construction of graving dock no. 1 on Harbor Island, unit 4
Alfred G. Simmer (photographer)
Apr. 5, 1939
2/51 87 Apr. 26, 1939
2/52 88
 Graving dock no. 2 under construction, unit 4
Alfred G. Simmer (photographer)
May 26, 1939
2/53 89
Pontoon section "K" in graving dock no. 2, unit 4
Alfred G. Simmer (photographer)
Jan. 8, 1940
2/54 90 Aug. 18, 1939
2/55 91
Pontoon "C" showing cable saddle and outside port assembly, unit 4
Alfred G. Simmer (photographer)
Jan. 9, 1940
2/56 92
Pontoon
2/57 93
Pouring concrete for portion of a pontoon, unit 4
Alfred G. Simmer (photographer)
July 26, 1939
2/58 94
 Pontoon A-4 under construction, unit 4
Alfred G. Simmer (photographer)
July 26, 1939
2/59 95
Placing roadway slab steel for pontoon A-3 in graving dock no. 1, unit 4
Alfred G. Simmer (photographer)
July 20, 1939
2/60 96
Graving dock no. 2; pontoon section H-L guide roller track in place, unit 4
Alfred G. Simmer (photographer)
Feb. 9, 1940
2/61 97
Launching pontoon A-3, unit 4
Alfred G. Simmer (photographer)
July 26, 1939
2/62 98
 Pontoon A-1 leaving graving dock, unit 4
Alfred G. Simmer (photographer)
July 5, 1939
2/63 99 Oct. 13, 1939
2/64 100 Jan. 27, 1940
2/65 101
Looking east at pontoons A-2 to A-8 in position, showing shear keys in west end of pontoon, unit 4
Alfred G. Simmer (photographer)
Oct. 10, 1939
2/66 102
2/67 103
 West approach to bridge, unit 3
Alfred G. Simmer (photographer)
Aug. 30, 1939
2/68 104 Dec. 27, 1939
2/69 105
View of bridge construction from 35th Avenue S., looking northeast, unit 3
Alfred G. Simmer (photographer)
Dec. 27, 1939
2/70 106
Tied arch span over navigation channel, looking northeast, unit 3
Alfred G. Simmer (photographer)
Jan. 29, 1940
2/71 107 Jan. 29, 1940
2/72 108
West end of bridge, ready for pontoon L-1, looking southeast, unit 4
Alfred G. Simmer (photographer)
Unit 3 in foreground.
Jan. 24, 1940
2/73 109 Jan. 29, 1940
2/74 110 Nov. 4, 1939
2/75 111 Dec. 11, 1939
2/76 112
View of bridge construction from shore
Alfred G. Simmer (photographer)
2/77 113
2/78 114
Pontoons D, G-2, and L-2 in place, looking west, unit 4
Alfred G. Simmer (photographer)
Mar. 6, 1940
2/79 115
Transition span and supports, looking northwest, unit 3
Alfred G. Simmer (photographer)
Apr. 29, 1940
2/80 116
East view of pontoons west of pontoon M in place, unit 4
Alfred G. Simmer (photographer)
Feb. 1, 1940
2/81 117 Apr. 29, 1940
2/82 118
2/83 119
Roadway sections at join
2/84 120
Sidewalk, curb, and railing on floating structure near mid length, unit 4
Alfred G. Simmer (photographer)
Jan. 30, 1940
2/85 121
Bolted connection, pontoon F to pontoon C, showing method of tightening bolts, unit 4
Alfred G. Simmer (photographer)
Jan. 9, 1940
2/86 122
Bolted connection, pontoon F to pontoon C, showing method of tightening bolts, unit 4
Alfred G. Simmer (photographer)
Jan. 9, 1940
2/87 123 Aug. 31, 1939
2/88 124
Type “A” anchor, unit 4
Alfred G. Simmer (photographer)
June 27, 1939
2/89 125
Placing second type “A” anchor, unit 4
Alfred G. Simmer (photographer)
July 14, 1939
2/90 126
 Second type “A” anchor being lowered, unit 4
Alfred G. Simmer (photographer)
July 14, 1939
2/91 127
Driving type “C” anchors using wood frame jig, unit 4
Alfred G. Simmer (photographer)
Dec. 27, 1939
2/92 128 Sept. 26, 1939
2/93 129
Type “C” cable anchor
Photograph of drawing.
2/94 130 June 4, 1940
2/95 131
 Looking west from 23rd Avenue S., unit 4
Alfred G. Simmer (photographer)
Apr. 29, 1940
2/96 132 Jan. 31, 1940
2/97 133
Concrete approach, unit 5
Alfred G. Simmer (photographer)
Aug. 30, 1939
2/98 134
View looking west from pier 12, unit 5
Alfred G. Simmer (photographer)
Jan. 3, 1940
3/99 135
 Concrete approach spans, looking west, unit 5
Alfred G. Simmer (photographer)
Jan. 30, 1940
3/100 136
 Completed bridge, looking west, unit 5
Alfred G. Simmer (photographer)
Aug. 5, 1940
3/101 137
Looking east toward draw pontoon basin, unit 4
Alfred G. Simmer (photographer)
June 4, 1940
3/102 138
Pontoons around draw sections, looking northwest, unit 4
Alfred G. Simmer (photographer)
June 14, 1940
3/103 139
At navigation channel, looking northeast, unit 4
Alfred G. Simmer (photographer)
June 14, 1940
3/104 140
 Guide rolls for draw pontoon, unit 4
Alfred G. Simmer (photographer)
Jan. 8, 1940
3/105 141 Jan. 8, 1940
3/106 142
Steel buoyancy units afloat at boiler works, unit 4
Alfred G. Simmer (photographer)
Feb. 15, 1940
3/107 143
Muddy road and field, with houses in distance
Alfred G. Simmer (photographer)
3/108 144
East from station 278+65, unit 8
Alfred G. Simmer (photographer)
Oct. 30, 1939
3/109 145
At overpass at station 248, looking southeast, unit 7
Alfred G. Simmer (photographer)
July 28, 1939
3/110 146
Looking east from west end of bridge, unit 10
Alfred G. Simmer (photographer)
Nov. 17, 1939
3/111 147 Sept. 28 1939
3/112 148
View of bridge construction from water
Alfred G. Simmer (photographer)
3/113 149
Southeast from west end, unit 9
Alfred G. Simmer (photographer)
Nov. 17, 1939
3/114 150
 Bridge from Mercer Island to the east mainland
Alfred G. Simmer (photographer)
Jan. 30, 1940
3/115 151
Looking northeast at deck slab reinforcing on steel spans, unit 9
Alfred G. Simmer (photographer)
Jan. 30, 1940
3/116 152
 Roadway slab construction, looking west, unit 9
Alfred G. Simmer (photographer)
Jan. 30, 1940
3/117 153 Nov. 17, 1939
3/118 154
 South tunnel, looking west, unit 2
Alfred G. Simmer (photographer)
Aug. 7, 1940
3/119 155
Detail of a design on portal
3/120 156
 East end of tunnels, looking northwest, unit 2
Alfred G. Simmer (photographer)
Nov. 1, 1939
3/121 157
North tunnel construction at station 111+40, looking west, unit 2
Alfred G. Simmer (photographer)
Sept. 12, 1939
3/122 158
 East tunnel portal, looking west, unit 2
Alfred G. Simmer (photographer)
Jan. 30, 1940
3/123 159
South tunnel construction, concrete lining rings in place at station 112+40
Alfred G. Simmer (photographer)
Sept. 12, 1939
3/124 160 Sept. 12, 1939
3/125 161
North tunnel construction, looking east from station 109+00
Alfred G. Simmer (photographer)
Jan. 12, 1940
3/126 162
Lake Washington Floating Bridge map with technical details
3/127 163a-b
Lake Washington Floating Bridge statistics
1937
3/128 164
Lake Washington Floating Bridge toll schedule
1941
3/129 165
Lake Washington Floating Bridge construction progress reports
1939-1940

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Bridges--Washington (State)--Design and construction--Photographs
  • Bridges--Washington (State)--Foundations and piers--Photographs
  • Engineers--Washington (State)--Photographs
  • Pontoon bridges--Washington (State)--Photographs
  • Suspension bridges--Washington (State)--Photographs
  • Geographical Names :
  • Lacey V. Murrow Bridge (Mercer Island and Seattle, Wash.)--Photographs
  • Tacoma Narrows Bridge (Tacoma, Wash.)--Photographs
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Design drawings
  • Photographs
  • Other Creators :
    • Personal Names :
    • Simmer (photographer)

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Visual Materials Collections (University of Washington)