Clark H. Eldridge

View Exhibit map

Clark Eldridge was one of Washington State’s most notable and accomplished bridge engineers. Though his accomplishments as a bridge engineer were very distinguished, Eldridge is most recognizable for his association with the original Tacoma Narrows Bridge.

Eldridge designed bridges for the City of Seattle, where his designs gained him much recognition. During his time with the City of Seattle many of the city’s most recognizable and innovative bridges were constructed.

In 1936 Eldridge accepted a position with the Washington State Highway Department. He soon was developing designs for two of the state’s most famous bridges, the Lake Washington Floating Bridge and the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.

Eldridge submitted the first design for the Tacoma Narrows Bridge which looked very similar to the replacement bridge built in 1950. This design was rejected due to excessive cost. The design was then modified by consulting engineer Leon Moisseiff. Eldridge was left in charge of the construction for the modified design which was completed in 1940.

Four months after completion of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, Eldridge witnessed the collapse of “Galloping Gertie”. Though Moisseiff received most of the blame for the failure, Eldridge took his share of the responsibility and his name was forever associated with the collapse.

ENGINEERING HISTORY:

- Designer, City of Seattle Bridge Department (1921-1932)

- City Bridge Engineer, City of Seattle Bridge Department (1932-1936)

- Bridge Designer, Washington State Highway Department (1936-1941)

- Construction Consultant, US Navy Guam (Prisoner of War) (1941-1945)

- Consulting Engineer (1945-1958)

- County Engineer, Skamania County Washington, (1958-1966)

ELDRIDGE INFORMATION:

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clark_Eldridge

SOURCES:

Spanning Washington, Craig Holstine & Richard Hobbs, WSU Press, 2005


Capitol Boulevard Bridge (Thurston County, Washington)
Engineer, 1936
Concrete tee beam bridge over Deschutes R. & Owrr&N R. on Capitol Boulevard
Open to traffic

Cowen Park Ravine Bridge (King County, Washington)
Bridge Enginer, City of Seattle, 1936
Concrete arch bridge over Cowen Park Ravine on 15th Avenue NE in Seattle
Open to traffic

Julia Butler Hansen Bridge (Wahkiakum County, Washington)
Bridge Designer, 1939
Through truss bridge over Columbia River on WA 409
Open to traffic

Montlake Bridge (King County, Washington)
Design Engineer, 1925
Bascule bridge over Montlake Cut on WA 513 in Seattle
Open to traffic

Queen Anne Drive Bridge (King County, Washington)
Bridge Enginer, City of Seattle, 1935
Steel arch bridge over Ravine on N. Queen Anne Drive in Seattle
Open to traffic

Tacoma Narrows Bridge (1940) (Pierce County, Washington)
Design Engineer, 1940
Lost suspension bridge over Tacoma Narrows on Primary State Highway 14-A in Tacoma
Collapsed