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Turning Back the Pages

Raging torrent brings bridge down

With a crash that struck stark terror in the hearts of pedestrians, the big steel suspension bridge which spans the Hudson at the foot of Glen Street Hill, Glens Falls was washed away at 9:55 p.m. March 27, 1913 and the big structure tumbled into the raging torrents below. A cry of horror went up from onlookers, scores of whom had barely escaped a watery grave.

One witness said that only moments before, when he crossed from the city and reached the archway near the South Glens Falls end of the bridge, he heard the noise of twisting steel and looking back he saw the huge structure swaying and hastening his steps he just barely reached safety.

Citizens knew of impending peril

The great flood began after three days of heavy rain which turned the Hudson River into a raging torrent. It was four inches higher than the great flood of 1867.

Since the day before its demise it was generally believed that the bridge was doomed and before noon all unnecessary traffic was stopped. The danger continued to increase and toward evening only pedestrians were allowed to pass over the bridge at their own risk. By 6 o’clock, its destruction was looked upon as a matter of only a few hours. Huge crowds gathered to view the spectacle.

Brilliant electrical display

As the bridge swayed, it heaved upward in the middle with a creaking noise and went tumbling into the river, Scores of electrical wires were cut asunder and for a few moments there was a brilliant electrical display which made the night as light as day. When the live wires struck the water below they short-circuited and gave off a brilliant display. Then came darkness and with it increased horror until it became definitely known that the two pedestrians who had but a minute or so before had taken their lives in their hands had passed safely over.

Readers are welcome to contact Adirondack Journal correspondent Jean Hadden at jhadden1@nycap.rr.com or 623-2210.

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