Notorious chapter in West Seattle history, and what else you’ll see at Southwest Library’s community art showcase

You might know Jim Sander best for his quirky Pigeon Point neighborhood signs. At the 27th annual Southwest Library community art showcase, you can see his salute to a notorious chapter in West Seattle (and beyond) history – if the name Rolf Neslund isn’t instantly recognizable, catch up here. Other art at the show – which you can see at the library during its regular hours for the next month – doesn’t have quite that level of backstory:

Above, the balloons are by Jeff Ferry, the orca by Adrienne Salzwedel. The next work is by John deMars:

Here’s one of the artists on hand for this afternoon’s opening reception, Gordon Miller:

His work is titled “Three Tree Point.” Volunteers served refreshments at today’s reception:

Another component of the showcase: Free all-ages art classes at Southwest Library (9010 35th SW) on the next five Saturdays – see the list here!

9 Replies to "Notorious chapter in West Seattle history, and what else you'll see at Southwest Library's community art showcase"

  • curious October 1, 2018 (10:11 am)

    Very interesting reading in that article, thanks WSB! One question- the article says after the bridge was struck by the ship it was stuck in the open position, and damaged beyond repair. Is that the same bridge we have today (the low bridge) and if so, how long was it out of commission for? Does anyone know? We complain about traffic today, I can’t imagine what it was like before the high bridge was built and the low bridge was out of commission.

    • WSB October 1, 2018 (10:24 am)

      No, different bridge. The low bridge is even newer than the high bridge – it dates to the early ’90s.

  • uncle loco October 1, 2018 (10:40 am)

    There were actually 2 drawbridges right next to each other at the time. The north bridge was damaged and stuck in the open position forcing all traffic onto the south span. Despite the situation, traffic today is still much worse.

  • carolei October 1, 2018 (11:32 am)

    Uncle Loco is correct. There were two drawbridges side-by-side, one for traffic going east and one for westbound traffic. After the north span was damaged, the south span had to carry all traffic in both directions. It was awful.

    And that historylink article is fascinating!

    • uncle loco October 1, 2018 (12:39 pm)

      I wasn’t old enough to drive at the time but if I remember correctly the middle lanes were set up as reversible to accommodate rush hour traffic.

  • CoolBreeze October 1, 2018 (11:53 am)

    When I moved to West Seattle in late 1979, SPS was busing kids to schools across town, so I caught a designated Metro bus at Schmitz Park Elementary and traveled to Beacon Hill Elementary. We crossed the remaining functional drawbridge in the shadow of its damaged twin twice a day.. The bridge became something of a local icon and I can remember seeing t-shirts that read “What’s Up in West Seattle?” with an image of the bridge stuck in the up position.

  • Max October 1, 2018 (12:45 pm)

    My wife and I call the high bridge “the Rolf Neslund Memorial Bridge”.

  • I. Ponder October 1, 2018 (5:37 pm)

    His wife murdered him and ran him through a chipper.

  • flynlo October 1, 2018 (7:23 pm)

    Anyone remember the sign “Free the West Seattle 74000” ?
    It was placed at the very top of the stuck open west side of the bridge by a young
    software engineer! I vaguely recall much debate about who was to climb the
    bridge to bring the sign down.

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