“The Purdy Bridge at Sunset.” © 2014 Chris Konieczny
The Definitive History of the Purdy Bridge
For the people of the Key Peninsula in west Pierce County, Washington, the Purdy Bridge has provided a vital link for over 130 years.
It took forty-five years and four tries to get it right. The first wood swing bridge across the head of Henderson Bay at Purdy was built in 1892. Today’s concrete bridge, the fourth at that site, opened to traffic in 1937.
Each new bridge looked confidently to the future, and each time the future found a way to outgrow it and ask for more. In the early 1900s smiling locals posed for photos on the quiet bridge deck; in 2022 the busy roadway carried over 20,000 vehicles a day.
Using archival documents and rare photos, many published here for the first time, Change and Continuity: The Life and Times of the Purdy Bridge traces the story of the historic bridge, the county engineers that built it and the communities it has served for over four generations.