It sounds like something you'd see at the end of a movie, but it was a real event that happened in Missouri nearly two centuries ago. In 1855, a Missouri bridge collapsed and took a train and many lives down to the river below.

96.7 The Eagle logo
Get our free mobile app

I didn't realize that one of the first major bridge collapses in America happened in Missouri. A-Z Animals included it in what they declared were the 6 most devastating bridge collapses in the history of Missouri.

They say this tragedy happened on November 1, 1855. It was a disaster waiting to happen. At that time, the Gasconade Bridge was not completed, but there was an engineer on a train who was in a hurry. As they tell it, there was a brand new train called the O'Sullivan. Another train had apparently crossed with no problem on October 31, 1855. The same sadly would not be said of the O'Sullivan.

As the train began to cross the Gasconade Bridge, something went terribly wrong when part of the span collapsed...and that was followed by another. The train engine and 7 passenger cars plunged into the river. Another 36 rolled down the river embankment.

By the time the death toll was tallied, 43 were killed and 350 injured.

It remains one of the most tragic bridge tragedies in United States history. The bridge that was originally built to replace the fallen Gasconade River bridge was recently brought back from demolition. But, the tragedy that happened over that span still haunts the area. It truly is a scene that would be better seen in a movie and not in real life like it was on that Missouri day in 1855.

Inside a 200-Year-Old St. Louis Mansion That Could Be Yours

Gallery Credit: Dan McGrath,