Nutty Narrows - Squirrel Bridges
In the early 1960s, Amos Peters didn't like the carnage happening outside his office window. Peters, owner of a construction contracting firm, had a ringside seat to a ceaseless procession of hit-and-run fatalities on Olympic Way. It was a busy street with tall trees, part of a somewhat confusing circle, with other busy avenues converging in front of Longview's public library.
Those squirrels didn't have a prayer.
Peters conceived an escape route dubbed the "Nutty Narrows Bridge," a human-engineered span between the library grounds and the other side of Olympic Way. He engaged architects Robert Newhall and LeRoy Dahl, and built the rodent-scaled bridge with associate Bill Hutch. In 1963, the bridge was hoisted over the road between two trees -- 60 feet wide and fashioned from aluminum and a length of retired fire hose. It cost $1,000.
The bridge has been a Longview landmark for over 50 years. It underwent a major restoration in 1983; the re-dedication was attended by 300 schoolchildren, costumed Disney characters, and town officials.
Peters died in 1984, but he hasn't been forgotten. A huge wooden gray squirrel stands in the library park, facing towards Nutty Narrows, acorn in paw. It is dedicated to Amos Peters and his creative spirit.
The statue was replaced with a taller, more weather resistant version in 2001 by the Sandbagger Club, a service fraternity of local wags. According to Longview City Council minutes, they showed up at a meeting in their "signature red-and-white striped jackets" and read a declaration as they presented the squirrel statue "gift." The Sandbaggers urged the council members to sign the declaration and assured that "it was unnecessary to read the fine print on the document, and repeatedly asked they not bother to do so. Mayor Bergquist read the small print aloud, which stated that each person who signed the document would be personally liable for the payment of in excess of $8,000, among other things." The Council declined to sign, but the wooden squirrel was nonetheless installed at the park.
During the holidays, Longview adds a small Christmas tree with lights to the center of the bridge.