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The Octopus Under the Narrows Bridge Named One of the Wonders of Tacoma

The Narrows Bridge and the legendary octopus that is reported to live beneath it have officially been recognized as two of the 11 Wonders of Tacoma. But is the legend of the giant octopus living in the ruins of Galloping Gertie really true?

Legend surrounding the Narrows Bridge and the ecosystem living in Galloping Gertie's ruins at the bottom of Puget Sound that have inspired locals for decades are now recognized as official Wonders of Tacoma. 

In honor of Murray Morgan Bridge Week,  the public was invited to participate in a survey to vote on Tacoma’s 11 Wonders which includes the Murray Morgan Bridge and honors its location on 11th Street.

The 11 Wonders of Tacoma are: 

Point Defiance Park & Zoo

Union Station

Ruston Way Waterfront

Tacoma Narrows Bridge

Views of Mt. Rainier

Stadium High School

Wright Park

Museum of Glass

Fort Nisqually

Octopus under the Tacoma Narrows Bridge

Murray Morgan Bridge

Does a Gigantic Octopus Really Live Under the Narrows Bridge? 

Speaking as a former Titlow Beach daycamper, I can say with absolute certainty that the 600-pound octopus reported to live under the Narrows is the best urban legend in the area. Just the thought of such a mammoth creature wallowing in the ruins of Galloping Gertie was enough to make me hold my breath whenever the family car crossed over the bridge.

But is it fact, or fiction?

According to the WSDOT Narrows Bridge Weird Facts web page, one of the world's largest octopus species makes its home in Puget Sound - the Giant Pacific Octopus, which can weigh over 600 pounds. Local legend will tell you that the largest Pacific Octopus in the world lives under the Narrows Bridge. The solitary and elusive creature can often be hard to track and they only live to be about four years old, but divers have reported octopus sightings in the underwater ruins of Galloping Gertie. 

This Patch editor could not say with any certainty that there is or ever has been a 600 pound octopus living under the bridge, but if you can, prove it!

Octopus Wrestling

Titlow Park has always been a popular starting point for scuba divers visiting Galloping Gertie, but some may not know that the World Octopus Wrestling Championships were hosted there in 1963.

Contestants dived 30 to 50 feet to Gertie's ruins, to grab giant Pacific octopuses out of a cave or wherever they were making a home. The event was attended by thousands of people.

Read more about the World Octopus Wrestling Championship in The Seattle Times. 

What's your favorite local Octopus legend? Do you believe the largest octopus in the world lives under the Narrows Bridge? Tell us in the comments. 

Lauren Padgett (Editor) February 15, 2013 at 12:51 AM
I really see this as the beginning of my research into the giant infamous octopus. If you have any info or photos about local octopus sightings, or local octopus wrestling lore, please share them!
Jaydee1958 February 15, 2013 at 03:12 PM
What garbage!!! The headline is that the Octopus under the Narrows Bridge is a Tacoma Wonder! Read the article and it's an "urban legend." Thank you for wasting my time. Thought I'd read some nice nature article and perhaps a picture of this "giant urban legend." But what we got is 600lb of b.s. instead. So, thanks for a wonderful non-story.
Harborite February 15, 2013 at 04:20 PM
What a bunch of nonsense...we ate that octupus for dinner years ago :o)
Lauren Padgett (Editor) February 15, 2013 at 05:00 PM
Well Jaydee, sorry to waste your time but that's the mystery of the giant octopus I guess. The fact that the City of Tacoma listed it as an official "Wonder of Tacoma" was originally what got me questioning if it actually exists or not. That list of Wonders was compiled by city leaders and recognized by Tacoma, so I started from there trying to find out if there was proof of its existence. No one has photographed a 600 pound octopus under the Narrows, from what I could find. I stumbled on the WSDOT link (the only official Washington State website that mentions large octopi under the bridge), and found the funny stuff about the octopus wrestling. Sorry if you didn't find it interesting, but I figured it was worth a share. The fact that the Pacific Octopus exists in the Puget Sound is not an urban legend. The question is, how big do they get? Has there ever been a 600 pound octopus who has taken residence in Galloping Gertie? Since they only live to be 4 years old and they are solitary creatures, its scientifically hard to track, so said the National Geographic link I included here. So, Jaydee, if you happen to find any proof, or photos, or evidence to the contrary, please share with us.
Randall Bartley February 15, 2013 at 05:44 PM
Gee, chill out will you
Laura Powell February 15, 2013 at 06:25 PM
I thought it was interesting thanks for sharing!
Lance Orloff February 15, 2013 at 07:56 PM
Years ago, I saw a very large Octopus in one of the overhangs in Puget Sound. It's eyeball was massive. It's arms bigger than mine. I have no clue as to the size. It was tucked away. I can vouch for the creature being overly huge. It is best that everyone assumes this is urban legend though "urban" implies human living areas. The octopus will appreciate you more if you leave them alone. As to size, 600 lbs is really unimpressive in deep water sense. A human of 600 lbs would be impressive but applying that standard for impressiveness to animals is really not very considered. So people like JayDee1958 (how old and set in your ways does that age make you) should stick to their bingo night. The octopii will thank you for leaving them alone.
Christina February 16, 2013 at 11:03 PM
Kind of explaines the disappearance of folks that jumped and never found !!
Been there February 17, 2013 at 01:17 AM
One of the wonders of Tacoma is wondering why anyone would praise that overpriced, under-animaled travesty known as the Point Defiance Zoo.

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