The Longview Bridge opened for public use on March 29th, 1930. The bridge crosses the Columbia River between Longview (Cowlitz County) and Rainier, Oregon. At the time of its construction it was the longest and highest cantilever bridge in the USA at 8,289 feet in length and with a roadway 210 feet above the water.
The extreme bridge design required approval of the U.S. government. In November 1927 Congress authorized the private construction of the bridge, stipulating a channel width of a thousand feet and clearance of 195 feet at mid-span to accommodate tall-masted clipper ships.
The bridge was designed by Joseph Baermann Strauss, who also designed San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge. It has more than 12,000 tons of steel, which was fabricated at the Bethlehem Steel in Pennsylvania and erected by J. H. Pomeroy and Co. of Seattle.
The bridge was dedicated on March 29, 1930 by President Herbert Hoover, who turned a telegraphic key in the White house which allowed him to cut a chain of daffodils that stretched along the length of the bridge without physically being there.
The bridge opened as a privately owned toll bridge but was purchased in 1947 by the Washington State Toll Bridge Authority who replaced wooden approach spans with steel and concrete approach spans. The debt was paid off and the tolls were removed in 1965.
In 1980, the bridge was rededicated and renamed the Lewis and Clark Bridge and in 1982 it was entered on the National Register of Historic Places.
Don’t miss this and other interesting historical moments in the hardcover book, “Greater Cowlitz County Memories: The Early Years.”