Salida, CO Footbridge Collapses, May 1904



Salida, Colo., May 30. -- While the Memorial Day exercises were at their height today and the veterans were casting flowers on the waters of the Arkansas River in memory of the heroic dead, four people were suddenly plunged to death by the breaking of a footbridge spanning the river at the lower edge of Riverside Park. A number of others were thrown into the stream, several of whom are missing. The rest narrowly escaped with their lives. The accident was witnessed by a thousand persons, who seemed powerless to render assistance.
The known dead:
MRS. CLARENCE A. TOMPKINS, aged 35 years.
HAZEL LINES, aged 6 years.
ESTHER MORGAN, aged 8 years.
PEARL HOLLAND, aged 9 years.
NORA ANDERSON, aged 13 years, is missing, and the body of a boy, whose name has not been learned, was seen floating two miles down the river.
The people who witnessed the accident declare there were twenty people on the bridge at the time of the collapse. The river is about forty feet wide at the point where the bridge broke, about ten feet deep, and has a very powerful current. The stream suddenly appeared to be filled with struggling humanity and an indescribable scream of horror went up from the crowd. Men with ropes and pulleys went quickly to work clearing the wreckage and saving lives. Others in buggies and on horseback started down the river, bent on the work of rescue. They have since been patrolling the stream for many miles below the city searching for the missing bodies. A wire netting has been stretched across the river at Wellsville, six miles below Salida, in the hope that the bodies will be swept into it tonight.
A report is in circulation tonight that the body of MRS. TOMPKINS has been seen lodged on a rock several miles below the city, but this cannot be verified.
It will require several days time before it is definitely known how many lives were lost.

San Francisco Call California 1904-05-31