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Eads Bridge


EADS BRIDGE, the first bridge across the Mississippi River, constructed 1868–1874 at Saint Louis, Missouri. Engineer James B. Eads, designer of ironclad warships for the Union navy, spent part of his youth in Saint Louis and was active in raising funds for the bridge project. He spanned the river with three arches of steel ribs and iron girders. The central span measures 520 feet and the two side spans 502 feet each—the longest arches in existence at the time it was constructed. For many years, the bridge was the only one crossing the river that far south and still serves as a major vehicular artery across the Mississippi.


Dorsey, Florence L. Road to the Sea: The Story of James B. Eads and the Mississippi River. New York: Rinehart, 1947.

Petroski, Henry. Engineers of Dreams: Great Bridge Builders and the Spanning of America. New York: Knopf, 1995.

Scott, Quinta. The Eads Bridge. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1979.

Alvin F.Harlow/a. r.

See alsoBridges ; Railroads ; Saint Louis .

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