The Walt Whitman Bridge is 50 Years Old This Month
By Sara Martino
WESTVILLE NJ (May 15, 2007)--It was back in May 1956, a year before the opening, when a young repairman for New Jersey Bell Telephone, as a result of his curiosity, was asked if he would like to visit the top of the Walt Whitman Bridge that was under construction.
"We went up in a temporary elevator stopping at 375 feet above the ground and stepped off to a temporary scaffold that was just wide enough for a few workmen that were starting to string cable across the Delaware River," He said.
"We climbed a ladder to the very top from the 12' wide scaffolding with no guard rails or safety nets. I must admit I was a little scared but was also in awe of the workmen and the view. McAndrews Forbes Paper Company and the New York Shipyard were clearly visible from tht height," Owens said.
In a photograph snapped by the engineer with Owens in the foreground, a train behind the New York Shipbuilding yard can be seen that was just sitting there due to heavy flooding at that period of time.
Owens, a Class of 1945 graduate from Gloucester City High School was born and raised in Gloucester City. He married Lois Bailey of neighboring Westville (59 years of marriage coming up), served Parkview School Board of Education for nine years, and served on the Westville Council for 21 years with distinction of holding the office of mayor for nine years.