- Historic American Engineering Record
“I have haunted the river every night lately, where I could get a look at the bridge by moonlight. It is indeed a structure of perfection and beauty unsurpassable, and I never tire of it.”
- Walt Whitman’s quote about the Eads Bridge
My GGG Grandfather was a foreman carpenter on the Eads Bridge When it was first constructed and I am looking for employee lists or any identifying information. Where can I look?
I suspect that our spammer is a computer...
What happened? Did someone let their 2-year-old get a hold of their smartphone?
Thanks, I was curious if that was going on. While the rehab is great, getting pristine photos free of clutter might be a challange from here on out. I was hoping to get down there and get some photos beforehand, but I may be too late.
Nathan, I drove over the bridge yesterday. The four-lane deck has traffic redused to two lanes on the south side. There were at least four hang-down-over-the-edge scaffolding rigs over the north railing for working lower than the deck. The deck appears to be in good shape and not receiving any attention.
I drove past last week. I saw cables on the new I-70 bridge north of Eads, but didn't notice any scaffolds, gear, or other evidence of work. But I did not drive over it.
Anybody live near this bridge? I am curious if any of the rehab work has begun and if so what it looks like.
A brief interview with Patrick Dolan who is overseeing the renovation of the Eads Bridge.
An illustration from 1875:
You are indeed correct here Ed!
Most of today's bridges are "under-designed"...by design.
Ed, OK I see, yeah that makes a lot more sense now.
Nathan, I don't think you understood my meaning. I was saying, in a kind of sarcastic way that 'they don't build them like they used too!' If you built a bridge like the Eads today the contractors would take you outside and hang you! The goal is to build bridges that need replacement every 40 years. Bridges like the "Cline Avenue Bridge" are nearer ideal in the modern world of engineering!
It is a matter of perspective to say he wasted material. For a bridge that perhaps was overbuilt in his day, it probably isn't overbuilt today given increased modern loading requirements. Most bridges built during the time of the Eads Bridge have been demolished because they were not able to support modern loads.
Well I think any untrained wantabe 'engineer' can overbuild a bridge to last 150 years. It takes a highly trained modern engineer using the best modern tools to build a bridge that falls apart right on schedule at about fourty years! Eads had no idea how much he wasted by overbuilding that bridge the way he did!
I guess from a technical standpoint you are correct...he never received a degree in civil engineering from any university. He was, however, self educated to the point where his achievements would seem to make that a moot point.
His Mississippi River Bridge is the true testament to his talents and abilities. I doubt that any formally trained civil engineer of today could do any better.
Eades was not an engineer.
A few photos of the eastern end of the Eads Bridge showing 1896 tornado damage aftermath, are at this link.
(Photos are copyrighted so I can't download them to put on website.)
The following link is to Missouri History Museum's St. Louis River Scenes set at Flickr. There's some old photos of the bridge in this collection.
The link will take you to an image of the bridge from 1931. It's part of the "Look Back" album at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch about ice in the Mississippi River.
My Great Grandfather, William Peter Devine, a stone mason, from Ireland worked on the Eads Bridge and his name appeared on a plaque installed on the bridge. In addition, he worked on the rock wall at Shaw's Garden. He was hired by Mr. Shaw on the boat coming to America. Mr. Shaw was returning on his second trip. My Great-Grandfather lived and raised his family at 18th and Chouteau.
Hey Craig! - I think the lights were installed in 1981. I remember seeing them on while visiting the Old Spaghetti Factory on Laclede's Landing in 1982.
Does anyone remember what year it was what the Eads was lit up with those blue lights? My dad has this fantastic photograph of the bridge and I'm wondering when it was likely taken. He told me these blue lights shone for a very brief time, and they were quickly turned off because they took so much energy to keep on. Anyone know?
How long is the Eads Bridge, really? Or perhaps the question is where do you begin measuring he length of the bridge? I ask because the longest of three spans is reported to be 533' (or 520' in other sources) while the overall length is reported to be over 4000'. If the span measurement is correct, the three spans and the arched approaches seem closer to 2000' than 4000'. To make matters more confusing, the overall length of the bridge is reported in other sources to be 6442'. I love the bridge. I'm just trying to figure out what I'm missing.
There should be two engineers required for study. James Buchanan Eads and Conde Balcom McCullough. Two geniuses way ahead of their time.
We LOVE our bridges! We aren't fond of DOT's that disrespect bridges.
This is a LOVE only site......no hate allowed here!
If you hate bridges, invest in a canoe.
i hate this so much
you have no idea!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
140 years old, and still carrying everyday rail and Interstate highway traffic. They don't make them like this anymore. James Eads should be required study for all engineers.
I was looking at the images from the HAER report. The photos were taken in May of 1983 by Jet Lowe. I checked the Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service page to find the out the Mississippi River level because the river was flooding. The river crested at 39 ft on May 4, 1983. In one of the images, I can see the shadow of the photographer and his tripod in the flood water.
The highest recorded flood level was 49.58 ft on 08/01/1993.
Information from this site:
In late 2010, maintenance work will begin on this bridge and take about two years to complete. The work will be done on the MetroLink portion of the bridge below the road deck. MetroLink received stimulus money that is restricted to capital projects. A new road deck was completed in 2003.
The full article can be read here:
I lived for 8 years in St. Louis. My brothers still live in the county. I have crossed the bridge many times with little thought to its creation and saga of one James Eads.
If you are a St. Louisian and have not read the life story of James Eads, you will not truely understand the trauma and toil he suffered to get this bridge built. A book of his life, "Road to the Sea" and the Mississippi River, by Florence Dorsey, was mesmerizing.
Modern St. Louis is enriched by his efforts. This bridge is a testament to his perserverance. It is still one of the most beautiful bridges in the world. That it has weathered tremors, earthquakes and the elements is testament to his great labor and design.
I lived in Illinois and worked for wohl shoe co on washington ave and use to drive that bridge everyday was a dime toll as I recall. I loved that bridge and Mc A that came out at the dog food co checker board square i think. anyway just a note we all love the bridge
I was born and raised in St. Louis. My father, who is a history buff, told me all about the bridge many times throughout my childhood and its mystique stuck with me. After all these years I still never tire of seeing it. I took the image below at sunrise in August of 2005. Coincidentally, my childhood neighborhood in Crestwood was next to the old Eads mansion which was demolished when I-44 was constructed.
That this wonderful structure is in use again after many years of neglect is one of the great success stories in historic bridge renovation. The lower train deck has been refurbished for use by the Metrolink light rail service and the upper road deck carries vehicular traffic.
Fans of the bridge should be aware of the book "The Eads Bridge". Originally published in 1979, it was out of print for many years until 1999 when a 2nd edition was published by the Missouri Historical Society Press. There is a remarkable, extensive black and white photographic essay and a companion history about the construction of the bridge. It's a wonderful publication.
I really miss the blue lights that used to shine acrossed the bridge. I wish someone could start a fund raiser to light it up again. It is a beautiful piece of St. Louis History and deserves the same lighting and respect as the Old Courthouse, Cathedral and the arch.
Light the bridge
My grandfather helped construct this bridge. He was one of the civil engineers that worked on it. I am proud of his work!
I have been a fan of old and/or unusual bridges for most of my 74 years. I appreciate the fine pictures and the information found at this website. Mr.Eads went on to contribute many engineering innovations on the Mississippi River.
I am reading a book " Rising Tides" which describes the building of this bridge and all the people involved.
I thank you for having so much good information on this site about this and other brdges