Silver Bridge Disaster Memorial – Gallipolis, Ohio - Atlas Obscura

Gallipolis, Ohio

Silver Bridge Disaster Memorial

The failure of one component toppled this entire bridge during rush hour. 

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The original Silver Bridge spanned the Ohio River between Point Pleasant, WV. and Kanauga, Ohio. It was completed in 1928 and stood until its collapse on December 15, 1967. Forty-six lives were lost due to the failure of an eyebar near the Ohio side of the river. As there was no redundancy in the bridge’s design, the failure of one component toppled the entire bridge.

The tragedy led to significant changes in regulations pertaining to bridge design and inspection schedules. A replacement bridge, the Silver Memorial Bridge, was dedicated in December 1969. The original bridge is associated with the Mothman myth, as the creature was allegedly sighted several times before the disaster.

Know Before You Go

The Ohio end of the former bridge is at the intersection of Ohio Route 7 N and Ohio Route 735. This location is now considered a part of Gallipolis, OH. There is a mowed path beside the railroad bridge that leads toward the riverbank. Follow the mowed path as it makes a right turn and dead ends near the riverbank. The Silver Bridge debris is still visible in the undergrowth. Please keep in mind this is undeveloped private property. It is not posted at this time. The use of a four wheel drive vehicle is advisable. On the West Virginia side, State Route 62 runs directly through Pt. Pleasant. Their memorials are across Main Street from the Mason County Courthouse. 

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