The collapse of the Silver Bridge
Courtesy of James E. Casto
'In 1928, Charles P. Vogel, standing at left, was the first person to drive an automobile across the Silver Bridge. Vogel was resident engineer in charge of constructing the span's superstructure. Shown with him, seated on the auto bumper, is George Cumpston, who was in charge of the bridge's steelwork.'
The photo attached to this article can be seen at:
Photos related to the Silver Bridge at Point Pleasant and its collapse on Dec. 15, 1967.
Thirty-seven vehicles were on the bridge when it fell into the Ohio River. Forty-six people died, and nine others were seriously injured.
CAN YOU TELL ME MORE ABOUT GEORGE CUMPSTON?
On December 15,1967 at approximately 5 p.m., the U.S. Highway 35 bridge connecting Point Pleasant, West Virginia and Kanauga, Ohio suddenly collapsed into the Ohio River. At the time of failure, thirty- seven vehicles were crossing the bridge span, and thirty-one of those automobiles fell with the bridge. Forty- six individuals perished with the buckling of the bridge and nine were seriously injured. Along with the numerous fatalities and injuries, a major transportation route connecting West Virginia and Ohio was destroyed, disrupting the lives of many and striking fear across the nation. (reference: West Virginia Historical Society Quarterly Vol. XV, No. 4 October, 2001 The Collapse of the Silver Bridge by Chris LeRose)
The General Corporation and the American Bridge Company constructed the Highway Bridge in 1928. It was designed as a two-lane eye-bar suspension type bridge, measuring 2,235 feet in total length, including the approaches. The bridge was designed under the specifications set forth by the American Society of Civil Engineers.
The bridge was dubbed the 'Silver Bridge' because it was the country's first aluminum painted bridge. It was designed with a twenty-two foot roadway and one five-foot sidewalk. Some unique engineering techniques were featured on the Silver Bridge such as 'High Tension' eye-bar chains, a unique anchorage system, and 'Rocker" towers. The Silver Bridge was the first eye-bar suspension bridge of its type to be constructed in the United States. The bridge's eye-bars were linked together in pairs like a chain.