Siloam Bridge Collapse
Mark Linville

Saratoga, NC

#1 Mar 14, 2007
I am looking for articles / pictures from newspapers or personal property that were taken when this bridge collapsed over the Yadkin River. Information will be used by a student of mine doing research on bridge and structural damages.
This one happened back in the late 6o's or early 70's due to flooding. Having trouble finding references in the Winston paper, so we are searching more local papers.Please send me a message here or on my home e-mail at "[email protected]" . Thanks.
Tanya

Castle Rock, CO

#2 Jun 8, 2007
I was 5 years old when this bridge collapsed. My Aunt who lived in East Bend drove my mother, sister and me to the site about a week after it happened. She drove right up to the drop off, we got out of the car and looked straight down. It was steep, but over ground. I've had a fear of bridges ever since. It happened at 9:25 pm on Feb. 23, 1975 when a car on the bridge drove off and struck a support below, due to fog. Six more cars drove off in the next 1/4 hour because they could not see the bridge was gone. My mother believes that all the cars that fell into the water came from the Forsythe County side which was right up to the river. The Yadkin County side of the bridge was over ground for a ways. I was told it was due to fog, not flooding. Four died and 16 injured. I would look for articles in the Yadkin County Ripple. Sorry, we don't have photos. My mother said my relative Richard Huff of Huff Funeral Homes in East Bend may have more information. It would have been his father that sent the ambulance out to retrieve the bodies. The town was called Siloam (sigh-loam). Sorry if this gets to you too late...I see the March date above.

Tanya Marnie, [email protected]
BEN VENABLE

Winston Salem, NC

#3 Jun 11, 2007
Tanya wrote:
I was 5 years old when this bridge collapsed. My Aunt who lived in East Bend drove my mother, sister and me to the site about a week after it happened. She drove right up to the drop off, we got out of the car and looked straight down. It was steep, but over ground. I've had a fear of bridges ever since. It happened at 9:25 pm on Feb. 23, 1975 when a car on the bridge drove off and struck a support below, due to fog. Six more cars drove off in the next 1/4 hour because they could not see the bridge was gone. My mother believes that all the cars that fell into the water came from the Forsythe County side which was right up to the river. The Yadkin County side of the bridge was over ground for a ways. I was told it was due to fog, not flooding. Four died and 16 injured. I would look for articles in the Yadkin County Ripple. Sorry, we don't have photos. My mother said my relative Richard Huff of Huff Funeral Homes in East Bend may have more information. It would have been his father that sent the ambulance out to retrieve the bodies. The town was called Siloam (sigh-loam). Sorry if this gets to you too late...I see the March date above.
Tanya Marnie, [email protected]
My great grandparents were killed in the collaps my mom and grand mother could be a lot of help with this we live in site of they bridge to this day

Ben Venable
[email protected]
Betty Haynes

Charlottesville, VA

#4 Jul 11, 2007
BEN VENABLE wrote:
<quoted text>
My great grandparents were killed in the collaps my mom and grand mother could be a lot of help with this we live in site of they bridge to this day
Ben Venable
[email protected]
Ben do you happen to know if the area there has had any reports of hauntings or ghost sightings? I would be interested in hearings some reports if you know of any. You can email me at [email protected] . Thanks.
Mark

Harrisburg, NC

#5 Aug 2, 2007
I was 13 yrs old in 1975 and lived on the Surry side - Siloam. It was a Very foggy night and once word spread of the collapse, the community responded by aiding rescue workers with food and coffee ( I was a coffee runner all night). Cars went over the still standing ramps into the collapsed bridge structure and water on both sides of the river until some survivors could make it up to the road and stop traffic. The cars I saw being hoisted out had all flipped upside down and pancaked on top of each other. Most folks that died either were crushed or trapped underwater. I knew several people who went "in" - all living close to the river and drove down to investigate the noise of the collapse. The resulting lawsuit against the state states the cause was a car hitting a critical structual component while on the bridge.. The bridge was of 1908 era construction -originally from Salisbury. Mr Atkinson (who died in the incident) had been instrumental in getting the bridge to replace the ferry. The road across was one lane made of wooden boards. The steet overhead was painted silver. After the collapse, the Army Corp of Engineers built a temporary bridge until the State built the existing bridge. The Winston Salem Journal probably has microfiche photos on file at any local library... From my memory, all you would see is the two ramps standing on each side with nothing inbetween and in the river was a mass of crumpled steel structure half submerged. The steel was eventually secured on the Surry side until the investigation was completed, then I assume sold for scrap. I remember being at "The Store" one day that summer watching the Army unload some of the steel into the storage yard and the cable broke on the crane almost killing the soldier on the ground. The bridge collapse occurred in Feb 1975 on a Sunday night. It's something the State should never allow to happen again...
Jerry Martin

Fayetteville, NC

#6 Aug 2, 2007
I went across the bridge on Saturday the day before it fell. I was really shook up when I heard about it. I was working for Orkin pest control at the time and Surry county was my area of work. After I left Orkin I bought another company out and worked in the area. I spoke with some of the suvivors and family members. It was the worst thing I had seen at the time. I go over the new bridge now and then and can't help but think of the people who lost their lives that night.
wandabing

Knoxville, TN

#7 Aug 7, 2007
I was talking to my dad this past weekend about it. He was in Surry County with my mom that night (we live in Yadkin County on the other side of the bridge). The man the state said hit the bridge that knocked it down was with my parents a short time that night. He left and went towards Siloam and my parents decided to go the other way b/c of the fog. My dad is convinced that he couldn't of been going fast enough to do any damage- my dad still remembers the fog- you couldn't see 2 feet in front of you. My dad thought the accident happened around 1973... I am glad my parents came home the other way- Feb. 1975- my sister and I were just 6 weeks old.

Since: Jul 07

Ararat Va

#8 Aug 20, 2007
Mark wrote:
I was 13 yrs old in 1975 and lived on the Surry side - Siloam. It was a Very foggy night and once word spread of the collapse, the community responded by aiding rescue workers with food and coffee ( I was a coffee runner all night). Cars went over the still standing ramps into the collapsed bridge structure and water on both sides of the river until some survivors could make it up to the road and stop traffic. The cars I saw being hoisted out had all flipped upside down and pancaked on top of each other. Most folks that died either were crushed or trapped underwater. I knew several people who went "in" - all living close to the river and drove down to investigate the noise of the collapse. The resulting lawsuit against the state states the cause was a car hitting a critical structual component while on the bridge.. The bridge was of 1908 era construction -originally from Salisbury. Mr Atkinson (who died in the incident) had been instrumental in getting the bridge to replace the ferry. The road across was one lane made of wooden boards. The steet overhead was painted silver. After the collapse, the Army Corp of Engineers built a temporary bridge until the State built the existing bridge. The Winston Salem Journal probably has microfiche photos on file at any local library... From my memory, all you would see is the two ramps standing on each side with nothing inbetween and in the river was a mass of crumpled steel structure half submerged. The steel was eventually secured on the Surry side until the investigation was completed, then I assume sold for scrap. I remember being at "The Store" one day that summer watching the Army unload some of the steel into the storage yard and the cable broke on the crane almost killing the soldier on the ground. The bridge collapse occurred in Feb 1975 on a Sunday night. It's something the State should never allow to happen again...
Wow ...I can not imagine being in your shoes at that time. Thanks for sharing your story. On channel 12 wxii www.wxii.com they did a story on the bridge not long ago. The posted "Ben" above they interviewed his grandma.Do a search on the Siloam bridge collapse and you will find the video.
Brian

Culpeper, VA

#9 Sep 5, 2007
In 1975, I was 11 years old. I spent that summer on my grandparents farm about 4 miles by crow from the bridge site. At the time, talk of the bridge collapse and the victims did not at all seem real.

The one clear memory I have of from that summer after the collapse is the trucks. Up and down the road they ran; all day long, all week long, week after week after week, month after month. Large, dark green US Army dumptrucks (or maybe National Guard). Very close to our farm was an abandoned granite quarry owned by the state. Apparently, the quarry supplied the Army the necessary dirt to build the new bridge, or maybe the one-lane temporary bridge. I remember the farmers pointing out the severed damage done to the paved country roads by the endless heavy truck traffic back and forth to the bridge site.

I have family and friends who lived on the Yadkin side of the bridge that night. I have never interviewed them for details, but the tragedy fascinates me to this day.
buddysbabe0

Mocksville, NC

#10 Aug 23, 2009
My husbands boss was in a car on the bridge and his mother was killed in that collapse. He and his sister and father survived. He is one of the owners at East Bend Builders Supply he might have something worth looking at.
Richard

Mount Airy, NC

#11 Nov 22, 2009
I was working at Huff Funeral Home that Sunday night. In those days, especially in the rural counties, the funeral homes were still in the ambulance business. I received the inital telephone call reporting the incident and in a few short minutes was on the scene with my partner. It was a cold, rainy, foggy night in February, 1975. We were the very first on the scene on the Yadkin County side. I still remember the screams that night. Some of the survivors had managed to get on top of their cars unaware that at any moment another car could fall on top of them. I have many vivid memories of that night for sure.
Debbie W

Charlotte, NC

#12 Oct 4, 2010
I remember that night, and hearing all the sirens going in that direction from Boonville, my family & I followed to that area. It had just occurred a few minutes before we got there at aprx 10pm ....it was in 1975, dark dreary foggy weather. That night also began my fear of crossing bridges, as we could hear cries and screams when we arrived. That was a very traumatic night for many people in that area, especially the victims and families. We'd also heard that something damaged one of the structures of the bridge and that was the cause of collapse.(not sure if another car went off initially and struck something but that seems highly likely due to the weather that night, which if I recall was a Sunday night). Those cars would cross the bridge not knowing there was no bridge in their short distance ...it was a very high & steep dropoff point. It still seems like a scary movie not a true story.
Ooooh

Pinetops, NC

#13 Mar 9, 2012
Betty Haynes wrote:
<quoted text> Ben do you happen to know if the area there has had any reports of hauntings or ghost sightings? I would be interested in hearings some reports if you know of any. You can email me at [email protected] . Thanks.
Google Boonville Tragedy , That isn't the only tragedy that has happened in this area ...I live right in Boonville , after living close to the bridge , and have had paranormal activity in my home at both locations ...
Ben

United States

#14 Apr 4, 2012
Sorry but no huntings .
Ooooh wrote:
<quoted text>
Google Boonville Tragedy , That isn't the only tragedy that has happened in this area ...I live right in Boonville , after living close to the bridge , and have had paranormal activity in my home at both locations ...
Susan

Dobson, NC

#15 Aug 24, 2012
"My mother believes that all the cars that fell into the water came from the Forsythe County side which was right up to the river. The Yadkin County side of the bridge was over ground for a ways."

I've lived in Siloam all my life.

Forsythe County was not involved at all since the bridge was over the Yadkin River connected Surry and Yadkin County. Most of the cars were from the Surry side.

NO one that I know ever thought the bridge hit caused it to fall.
Dawn

Thomasville, NC

#16 Mar 24, 2013
I was twelve when the bridge accident occurred. I do not know how the bridge happened to fall--though many stories have gone around. I recall it had rained hard for several days so the river was swollen and deep. There are some file pictures from newspapers and even the news should have file footage. My cousin Thomas and his wife Judy and two daughters (Tessa and Andrea) were one of the first vehicles that went in. Thomas and Judy were both fearful of water. His acccount is that once they landed in the water upside down, he was able to push his door open and Tessa (then eight) grabbed him by the belt and they swam out. He was taking Tessa to shallow water going to go back and get wife and 3 year old when he heard the next car fall on top of his truck. They did not find his daughter until late the next day a mile or so down the river caught in some branches. Thomas has moved on and has re-married and has a son (and grandchildren)now but memories still haunt him at times.

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