The Silver Bridge

On December 15, 1967 a terrible tragedy took place in our hometown of Point Pleasant, West Virginia. On that pre-Christmas day The Silver Bridge that spanned the Ohio River between Point Pleasant and the Gallipolis, Ohio area, collapsed taking the lives of 46 of our beloved family, friends and fellow citizens.

To honor those who were lost, Steve wrote and recorded the song, The Silver Bridge. Later the song was added to archived film footage to create a memorial video. In the introduction to this musical and visual tribute, Steve interviews his late father, P.J. Chapman, who shared his memories about that unforgettable day in December.

We remain prayerful for all who were, and still are, affected so greatly by the tragedy.

(Note: Only the audio of the song is available as a download. The video is not for sale and may not be copied.)

Please feel free to leave a comment about this disaster. We especially invite those from the area around Point Pleasant, WV and Gallipolis, Ohio to briefly include a comment.

Comments

  1. Don Goosman says

    I was close to Steve’s age at the time. I had just gotten my driver’s license, and our family in March 1968 rode from Pike County to Myrtle Beach, SC, down US 35. I recall crossing the very overloaded ferry at Kanauga. The boat passed close to the concrete piers of the bridge that were still in the river. I could hear the screams and cars splashing into the water as if it were happening again. I returned home and for my junior American Literature class project wrote a poem “Ode to the Silver Bridge.” I have since those days become great friends with many wonderful folks from Point Pleasant, WV, an Gallipolis, OH affected by this tragedy.

    • Steve and Annie says

      Don,
      Thank you for your comment. It is indeed amazing how many folks feel so connected by The Silver Bridge tragedy. And, we too rode the ferry many times during the building of the new bridge and recall how the water and the piers at the site seemed to echo the cries of those who went down with the bridge.
      Blessings to you and thanks again for your words.
      Steve & Annie Chapman

  2. Alice Click says

    Dec. 15, 2012 — the 45th Remembrance will be held at the River Museum in Point Pleasant, WV.
    I have been honored to read the names of the victims with the Mayor of Point Pleasant at the
    observance. A candle will be lit for each name. Families of the tragedy have been asked to participate. If family members have photos of their precious loved one — please contact the River Museum. Ruth and Martha Fout and others have a Silver Bridge Book now …

  3. Alice Click says

    Annie: The Silver Bridge Disaster was on our parent’s 24th Anniversary. They visited me that day –and their first grandchild, Our daughter was 3 days old and because of complications with the childbirth event, we were still hospitalized at Holzer Medical Center — Chet Huntley and David Brinkley announced on the evening news about the Disaster. It was a time of deep mourning because so many neighbors and friends lost their loved ones. No Christmas music was played in the stores after the Disaster until Christmas Eve.

  4. Steve & Annie Chapman says

    Annie and I received the following email message from the daughter of Charlene Wood who is seen in The Silver Bridge video/song. She is Tammy (Wood) Willet. We are grateful for her message and appreciate her for allowing us to post her very moving words.
    Steve

    I wanted to thank you for recording the You Tube video of the Silver Bridge song. My mother is Charlene Wood who is in the video. She’s been gone just over 2 years now. Since her passing, people have been kind enough to share their stories and photos of Mom & that tragic evening. The good Lord was with her that day. At her funeral, I got to meet one of the two gentlemen who helped her get off the bridge. I’m alive today because of the kindness of strangers, and the grace of God. I am one of the twins my Mom was pregnant with at the time of the bridge collapse. My heart goes out to the families who lost loved ones. Tammy (Wood) Willet

  5. Rodney Turner says

    Dear Steve and Annie,
    I was 3 years old when this happened. I have family who live in Point Pleasant and ” same as” family in the Galipolis, OH area. Since I graduated high school in 1982 I have become a professional truck driver. Knowing the background of the bridge in the area and being a history minded person, I cannot cross that bridge without wondering about those touched by this disaster. Even after all these years It’s not forgotten, and I think it never should be. God bless you for your gift to the remembrance of this tragedy.
    Rodney Turner

    • Steve and Annie says

      Rodney,
      Thanks for viewing the memorial set to music and we appreciate your comments. The history we share regarding The Silver Bridge is indeed a bond we have between us.
      Blessings and safety to you as you travel.
      S&A

  6. Kent Epling says

    Steve and Annie,
    Thank you for yet another ministry in song! My brother posted your video of the Silver Bridge and now in 2014, I have first experienced this beautiful tribute. I have been the youth minister at Meadowood Baptist in Midwest City, OK for the past 22 years and my wife and I have been here even longer; and you all have been here a few times, all the time I never knew you grew up in Pt Pleasant. I grew up in Gallipolis and was 8 years old when the bridge collapsed. My dad owned the M.T. Epling Co. and had a crew that were headed back from a job and were making their way to the bridge, but were held up in traffic over on the West Virginia side and never got close to the bridge. We were all packed as a family getting ready to head to Cincinnati for the weekend for Christmas shopping when my dad came running up the driveway telling us to unpack. I also (if my memory is correct) remember my dad’s main foreman had a brother-in-law that was (I think on the Ohio side) in a car that ended up suspended over where the bridge finished collapsing and those in his car had to jump down into the river or at least the river bank to get to safety. God continues to remind me of how He was blessing me even when I didn’t even know how much He loved me. Steve, you and your dad’s memories shared on the video, and the song, are yet more blessings to me from The Father letting me think back on my life and see how much He loves us!! Thank you for continuing to let Him use you and Annie!! We love you guys.
    Kent

    • Steve and Annie says

      Kent,
      Thanks for commenting about The Silver Bridge. It was indeed an unforgettable event in our lives. Those of us who have roots in the Pt Pleasant area and share the memory of fall of the bridge have a particular connection that runs deep. Like you, we know folks who were either headed to the bridge or just got off of it. The stories seem to be endless.
      Thanks again and blessings to you,
      S&A Chapman

  7. My father was in the sleeper of the McLean truck. He passed away Thanksgiving 2011. I grew up hearing stories about the bridge disaster. Thanks for this. Song is really nice.

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