Jeffersonville in Clark County, Indiana — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
Big Four Bridge Collapse
On December 15, 1893, citizens of Jeffersonville heard a thunderous boom that brought them running toward the Ohio River. They helped rescue 20 of 41 men who had been thrown from the bridge when a crane, blown over by strong winds, hit a span causing it to collapse.
The falling span just missed hitting the Jeffersonville-Louisville Ferry, full of passengers, crossing the river. Twenty one men drowned that day, while another twenty were rescued.
New reinforcements were used after the accident to prevent similar accidents from occurring in the future. Construction of bridge completed September 1895 for a cost of $2.5 million. Bigger approaches and stronger spans were added in 1912, and 1928, respectively. In 1968, the Big Four Railroad's parent company, Penn Central took over the bridge, and closed it due to a lack of financial resources. The connecting spans were sold for scrap in 1974.
Big Four Bridge, 1897.
Big Four Bridge, December 1897.
Original Big Four Bridge Piers lining the walks of Big Four Station. Piers within the limits of the park were kept intact to visualize the bridges inital path, and are historically protected.
Aerial View to South.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Bridges & Viaducts • Disasters. A significant historical date for this entry is December 15, 1893.
Location. 38° 16.235′ N, 85° 44.556′ W. Marker is in Jeffersonville, Indiana, in Clark County. Marker can be reached from Mulberry Street south of West Maple Street, on the left when traveling south. Located in Big Four Station Park. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 301 Mulberry St, Jeffersonville IN 47130, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Civil War Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); 2nd Street Bridge Construction (within shouting distance of this marker); Steamboats and Shipyards (within shouting distance of this marker); Big Four Pedestrian/Bicycle Path (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Flooding (about U.S. Quartermaster Depot (about 300 feet away); Big Four Railroad Bridge (about 500 feet away); The History of Preservation Station (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Jeffersonville.
Credits. This page was last revised on November 26, 2021. It was originally submitted on November 26, 2021, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia. This page has been viewed 533 times since then and 268 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on November 26, 2021, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia.