Old Postcard View
BH Photo #410711
The nearly completed second Monroe Street Bridge was opened in a rather unusual way which the local press turned into a minor sensation. “A NERVY YOUNG WOMAN, The First Pedestrian to Cross the New Monroe Street Bridge, 128 FEET ABOVE THE WATER, Miss Mary Winitch Walks Across the Foaming Abyss on an Iron Girder Amid the Cheers of the Assembled Spectators. The last link of the Monroe Street Bridge connecting both sides of the Spokane River was completed yesterday. … Hardly had the union been made …when a young lady dressed in white, who had walked out from the north end on a narrow stringer, approached the workmen…and asked permission to pass. Believing the woman was simply joking…they readily acquiesced. Scarcely had the words left their mouths than she proceeded on the perilous undertaking across the narrow girder, 60 feet long, and 20 feet of it only six inches wide, above a yawning abyss of 128 feet below. The spectators on the banks were no less amazed than the workmen when they saw the form of a female go tripping across the chasm on her narrow gauge roadway, without any support whatever, and balancing herself as nimbly as if she were a female Blondin on an every day excursion. When she reached the south span …the miss climbed up on the floor stringers… looked around her, and raising a bunch of ribbons that hung from her waist waved them in triumph to her lady friend and the workmen on the north span… What was the surprise of the onlookers when the young lady began to descend to the girder and to retrace her steps from the south to the north… Gradually the distance grew smaller between the lady and the finished end of the structure on the north side until she reached out her hand to grasp the floor stringers that she had left a few minutes before, when a huzzah from a score of throats rent the air. She was the first pedestrian, male or female , that had crossed the…bridge, both north and south.” - Spokane Review
The builders had said the new crossing was designed to last half a century but they failed to take into account the detrimental effects of twentieth century traffic and the problems with the unstable foundation of the south approach. The span stood for less than two decades. Barnum & Bailey came to town in 1907 and the elephants refused to parade across the shaky bridge. The bridge was torn down in 1909 to make way for yet another Monroe street bridge.