The Honeymoon Bridge of Niagara Falls

Honeymoon Bridge collapsed in 1938.

The Rainbow Bridge, built in 1941, connects the twin cities of Niagara Falls, U.S.A. and Canada. Both pedestrian and vehicular traffic use the Rainbow Bridge to travel between the two countries.  It's predecessor was the Upper Steel Arch Bridge, also known as the Falls View Bridge, and the Honeymoon Bridge. The Honeymoon Bridge was located 500 feet upriver, or south, of where the Rainbow Bridge spans the lower Niagara River.

Constructed in 1897 and opened in 1898, the Honeymoon Bridge was 1,240 feet long. It was well built for its time, however, it did a great deal of swaying in high winds and heavy traffic. In 1925, there was concern that the bridge was not stable as it swayed wildly as a marching band crossed over it during a parade. The steel structure began to deteriorate in the following decade. Safety railings rotted, allowing cars to crash through them easily. 

On January 25, 1938, the Niagara region was hit with a severe ice storm. The lower Niagara River flooded, causing ice jams along the shore. The abutments of the bridge were situated close to the water level and were damaged by the ice jams. The bridge was immediately closed. Crowds of spectators arrived, awaiting tons of steel to fall onto the ice below. On January 27, 1938, the Honeymoon Bridge collapsed in one piece onto the frozen surface of the lower Niagara River. For safety, it was dynamited into two sections, but both sections sat there until the ice began to melt. When the ice finally melted in April of that year, pieces of the bridge sank into the river. One section was on an ice flow that started floating toward Lake Ontario. At the point in the river opposite Otter Street in Canada and the New York Waste Management plant on the U. S. side, the section rolled off the ice flow and sank into what is the deepest part of the lower Niagara River.