Bridge Collapse plaque.

Silver Bridge Disaster Memorial

Field review by the editors.

Point Pleasant, West Virginia

The Silver Bridge was the sight of a horrible tragedy. Part infrastructure neglect, part engineering failure, its rush-hour collapse on December 15, 1967 has been stitched into the weird local lore of the bug-eyed monster Mothmen.

Bridge Collapse plaque.

The bridge first opened for traffic between Pt. Pleasant and Kanauga, Ohio in 1928, an eyebar suspension design that got its name from the reflective aluminum paint on its metal parts and supports. Constructed with lighter 1920s vehicles in mind, the bridge aged and bore the increasing load and volume of modern cars and trucks. At 5 pm on December 15, 1967, one eyebar with a small defect in the suspension chain gave way, and that cascaded, within about 20 seconds, into the entire bridge plunging 32 cars into the Ohio River, killing 46 and injuring nine. The bridge had been inspected only a week earlier.

A replacement, the Silver Memorial Bridge was opened in 1969, about a mile south of the old bridge site, reconnecting the town with neighboring (now named) Gallipolis in Ohio.

A plaque and memorial marks the spot in Point Pleasant where the on-ramp was before the bridge collapsed. The list of names on the plaque aren't the dead; they're the city council and clerk who approved the memorial. The plaza bricks individually name each victim -- "Those Who Lost Their Lives Are Remembered." A historical marker stands nearby.

Author John Keel incorporated the Silver Bridge collapse into his accounts of Point Pleasant's mysterious Mothman sightings, and a 2020 movie adaptation cast the Mothmen as otherworldly harbingers of disaster.

Also see: Mothmen of Point Pleasant

Silver Bridge Disaster Memorial

Address:
Main St., Point Pleasant, WV
Directions:
Corner of Main and 6th Sts.
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Silver Bridge Mural: Pre-DoomSilver Bridge Mural: Pre-Doom, Point Pleasant, WV - < 1 mi.
Mothman MuseumMothman Museum, Point Pleasant, WV - < 1 mi.
Patriotic Mothman MuralPatriotic Mothman Mural, Point Pleasant, WV - < 1 mi.
In the region:
Spire of a Forgotten Bridge, Chesapeake, OH - 33 mi.

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