The Eads Bridge

I got a bug recently to head to downtown St. Louis and take a fresh look at things I’m used to seeing every day. And one of the most recognizable fixtures of the famous St. Louis riverfront, next to The Gateway Arch, is the historic Eads Bridge.

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“Fun” Facts on the Bridge…

Completed in 1874, the Eads was designed by James Buchanan Eads, who was all sorts of genius in his ideas of bridge construction, even though he had no prior experience with it, and, also, in his ability to raise financing. The bridge itself was full of firsts, too – first to use structural steel construction, first to solely use cantilever support methods, and first to use pneumatic caissons, which were sunk so deep that they are still among the deepest ever sunk to this day. 15 workers on the bridge died of “the bends” (legend has it that their bodies were simply dropped into the caissons themselves, but I don’t know if that’s true), 2 workers were permanently disabled, and another 77 suffered serious effects of getting those caissons down that deep.

OK, well, some of those facts aren’t so much fun…

Today, the road deck on top allows for cars and pedestrian traffic across the mighty Mississippi and the rail deck below was converted in 1993 for use by the MetroLink.

I’m no engineer. I just like the bridge. I love the black steel and the subtle colors in the old stonework. I post-processed this to bring those colors out and give it more of an art feeling than a simple photograph. And I wanted to give a sense of the enormous size and expanse of this feat of engineering artistry.

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