35W Bridge Collapse
The recent 35 W bridge collapse in Minnesota brings back memories of
a local bridge collapse that occurred on August 2, 1920 when John Arthur
“Jack” Verkuilen, 19, the fourth and oldest son of John and Hattie
Verkuilen, met a terrible death when he was carried down by the collapse
of the Grand Avenue Bridge over the Black River. The 35W bridge
collapsed exactly one day short of the 87th anniversary of the Grand
Avenue bridge collapse.
was engaged in driving one of the large county trucks and was about at
the center of the bridge when it collapsed without warning. He was
struck on the head by a truss rod and he fell to the floor of the
bridge. A large upright iron support caught him near the lower
abdomen and he was horribly mangled. The iron support was of such
great weight that it was some time before jacks could be secured to lift
it up and take the body of the unfortunate young man from the wreckage.
He lived for fifteen or twenty minutes, although unconscious, and died
before he could be rescued from his terrible position.”
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