The Murray Morgan Bridge

Here’s the Morgan Bridge (formerly the 11th St. Bridge), a spanking new waterfront marvel exactly a century ago. Awesome the way a bridge can connect places in the realm of time and ideas, span obstacles of the mind and expand possibilities. The Morgan bridge does land in both the present and the past and crossing it is a journey of 100 years. That conifer tree is in full Spring growth right now and those rowboats probably belonged to Thea Foss in 1913. Hard to believe we almost lost this landmark and wondrous that we didn’t.

murry morgan bridge

Photo of the bridge_0

And a favorite photo of Murray Morgan before the eyes of the totem. The final photo is of the notorious Rosellini Hearings on corruption that were held at the Armory in the winter of 1951. As the caption from the Tacoma Public Library notes, there’s Murray, like some Zelig, watching the whole thing unfold. A favorite quote from him was “Tacoma has made some mistakes, and re-elected many of them”.

Murray Morgan 1


Senator Albert D. Rosellini and a panel of seven other legislators opened a vice probe at the Tacoma Armory November 26, 1951. Over 40 witnesses were scheduled to testify before the legislative committee investigating crime and vice in Tacoma. Testimony covered gambling, pinball, prostitution, narcotics activities and marijuana purchases. One woman stated that her husband committed suicide following accumulating heavy gambling losses. She had received threats to her and her children if she did not pay. One city official contended that Army authorities had asked him to keep “certain establishments open” to provide “relaxation” for troops. Two television cameras broadcast the hearing live. Murray Morgan is seated to the left of the man with headphones behind the KTBI broadcast equipment.


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This site is about the way history, in this case of a city and it's surrounds, is remembered or recorded in stories and small bits of memory. It's also about the way images and stories go together, how they inform and enrich each other and how we as thinking people fill in the content between a narrative and a visual document. So here is my city in time past, the way it looked and the people and events that create its character. For more than 20 years I have taught a 5 credit course on the History of Tacoma at the University of Washington Tacoma. With an average of 30 or 40 students a year, each doing a research paper as their primary focus for the course, I have benefited from many paths of inquiry and many researched and assembled stories. Here are some of them in the retelling along with the treasures of photographs and images in the collections of the Washington State Historical Society, Tacoma Public Library, University of Washington Digital Archives, Washington State Archives at the Office of the Secretary of State, Library of Congress, Washington State University, Alaska State Library, and many other archives, libraries and private collections.

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