New York has the Brooklyn Bridge, San Francisco has the Golden Gate Bridge, and Longview, Washington has the Nutty Narrows Bridge. We have all seen walkways and bridges over busy roads and expressways, but have you ever seen squirrels on a bridge? Amos Peters and a team of architects built the Nutty Narrows bridge in 1963. The crossover bridge is the world’s narrowest crossing for squirrels and small critters. Keep reading to learn more about this unique and unusual attraction nicknamed the Squirrel Bridge Longview WA.
Where is the Squirrel Bridge Longview WA?
The city of Longview is 105 miles outside Seattle, Washington. The bridge crosses a busy section of Olympia Way adjacent to the Longview City library grounds.
Why Was the Squirrel Bridge Longview WA Built?
Before the bridge, squirrels dodged traffic to retrieve their nutty snacks left by Park Plaza office workers. Every day the squirrels crossed the street, tempted by the food. Many squirrels lost their life flattened by passing cars. Hence, Amos Peters was inspired to build the squirrel bridge after seeing so many squirrels lose their life. The defining moment was after Peters witnessed a dead squirrel with a nut still in its mouth.
Who Designed Squirrel Bridge Longview WA?
Peters talked with his co-workers about his design idea of a squirrel bridge. Several of his friends were on board with the project. With this intention of building the bridge, they sought the City Council for permission, and to their delight, they got it! Councilwoman Bess LaRiviere dubbed the bridge “Nutty Narrows,” and surprisingly, the name held.
The bridge spanned 60-feet and was constructed of aluminum and fire hose material, that laid flat serving as the walkway. The project, when completed cost $1000.
The town celebrated the official opening of the bridge and the squirrels did not waste any time taking advantage of the new attraction. Town residents, overjoyed, watched the momma squirrels escorting and teaching their babies how to cross the Nutty Narrows bridge. Straightaway, the Associated Press featured the story about Nutty Narrows, and newspapers worldwide circulated the story. Animal lovers from London to Los Angeles sent newspaper clippings, fan mail, and an abundance of nuts to feed the squirrels as a heartfelt thank you to Peters.
The Bridge Undergoes a Makeover
In 1983, after 20 years of squirrel crossings, Peters removed the worn bridge for repair and replacement of the failed aluminum framework pieces. In July of that same year, Amos reinstalled the revamped bridge. The town of Longview was thrilled to welcome Mickey Mouse, Chip, and Dale who represented the Disneyland theme park, many VIPs, and 300 children who took part in the Nutty Narrows rededication ceremony.
The town mourned Peters’ death in 1984 and paid their respects by dedicating a 10-foot squirrel wood sculpture in his memory. The sculpture, carved by Tom Kell in 2001, has a permanent home across from the Nutty Narrows bridge.
Nutty Narrows Bridge Relocation Projects
In 2007, the anchor trees were rotten and engineers moved the bridge 100 yards east. Then in 2010, the bridge was relocated because the council deemed it a traffic hazard. The bridge is now three trees away from the original placement on Olympia Way between 18th Avenue and Maple Street.
Nutty Narrows Listed on the National Register
On July 25, 2013, the City Council voted to place the Nutty Narrows Bridge on the Longview Historic Places Register and the Washington Heritage Register. In 2014, the bridge landed on the National Register of Historic Places.
To date, there are five additional squirrel bridges in Longview.
- Bruce Kamp Squirrel Bridge
- John Dick Squirrel Bridge
- OBEC Bridge
- Safety Awareness Bridge
- Bridge #6
Sum It Up
Well, there you have it. Longview, Washington, has been keeping squirrels safe since 1963. If you happen to visit any of the six squirrel bridges, we would love to share your experience and photos. Please contact us with your story!
Looking for more squirrel information? Check out the Kitty City Squirrels resource blog!
Subscribe to our VIP Squirrel Tails monthly magazine to keep up with the latest happenings at Kitty City Squirrels!