Mackinac Bridge Builder, 93, Gets A Piece Of What He Built
(H.D. Ellis photo/MDOT archives. Used by permission)
Jack Thompson is a part of history. Michigan history, in a big, big way. In fact, he's living history. Thompson is one of the people who built the Mackinac Bridge. A project that Michiganders talked about since the 1880s if not earlier, but could never seem to agree on how to do it or pay for it, until the 1950s.
Finally, in the early fifties, all the pieces fell into place and construction began in 1954. Four long summers and no winters. The bridge opened on November 1, 1957.
Thompson is proud to have been one of the people to put the bridge on the map. And now, thanks to a friend and MDOT, he has a piece of grating from the original bridge.
"I can't explain what a wonderful feeling it is to have a piece of the actual bridge," Thompson said. "It brings back great memories."
Thompson and his co-workers strung 42,000 miles and 11,840 tons of cables that suspend the bridge.
Here's something curious. Since the job was finished, some 200 Million cars have crossed the bridge, but Thompson, who went back to work in his hometown of Alpena says he hasn't crossed the bridge since 1960.
"It is really cool. I was just one man, and there were so many who worked to build the bridge," he said. "It was a great experience, and I met a lot of great people."