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Historical Perspective
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Champlain crashes into the Fassett St. Bridge
April 5, 1957

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On April 5, 1957 a line of strong thunder storms moved through northwestern Ohio and southeastern Michigan with high winds and heavy rain. The CHAMPLAIN was tied up at the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad dock in Toledo for the 1956-57 winter. Winds up to 90mph caused the CHAMPLAIN to tear away from the dock breaking her 12 mooring lines and drift down the Maumee River. The ship came to a stop when it crashed into the Fassett St. Bridge knocking three spans into the river. Two vehicles were on the bridge at the time and turned back for solid ground. The accident cut power to the bridge and knocked the swing span loose causing the bridge tender to wait for the span to be blown back shut so he could get off the bridge.
The storm blew many trees over and tore off roofs through out the region including 50 feet of the Toledo Marine Terminal roof. The CHAMPLAIN only received a small gash in the bow where it hit the concrete bridge piers. With the damage to the bridge was estimated at $500,000 and weight limits restricted to passenger cars, it was determined that the money will go to a new bridge. The bridge remained closed until the summer of 1960 when it was torn down.

 

Front page of the Toledo Times, April 6, 1957.
(Bob Pocotte collection)

Toledo Times continuation, April 6, 1957.
(Bob Pocotte collection)

Front page of the Toledo Blade, April 6, 1957.
(Bob Pocotte collection)

Toledo Times continuation, April 6, 1957.
(Bob Pocotte collection)

AP Wirephoto of the damage to the Fasset St. Bridge.
(Photo by AP Wire, Roger LeLievre collection)

Aerial view showing three spans taken out.
(Photo by AP Wire, Roger LeLievre collection)

Shore side view.
(Photo by AP Wire, Roger LeLievre collection)

A view from the south side of the river.
(Bob Pocotte collection)

Looking from the remains of the west end of the bridge.
(Bob Pocotte collection)

Another view.
(Bob Pocotte collection)

A wide areial view looking down river towards downtown Toledo.
The Frontenac is in the foreground.
(Bob Pocotte collection)

Looking down on the stern.
(Bob Pocotte collection)

Bow view showing the 3 spans in the water.
(Bob Pocotte collection)

Unknown tug passing. New
(Pocotte photo, Jim Hoffman collection)

S. M. Dean begining to pull her away from the bridge. New
(Pocotte photo, Jim Hoffman collection)

The stern starts to come around. New
(Pocotte photo, Jim Hoffman collection)

 


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Last updated: June 10, 2012.

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