Pictures and Illustrations.
Has removed to his New and Spacious Rooms,
S. E. Cor. 10th & OLIVE STS.
REMBRANDTS, per Doz. 5 00
NEW LOW RESERVOIR.
CHARTER OAK STOVES.
Splendid bakers, and roast quickly and evenly.
Heaviest and largest Family Cook Stoves in the market.
Smoothest Castings of beautiful design.
Made of the best material by the best workmen.
Largest Ovens of any stove made.
Extra Large Flues Insuring Splendid Draft.
Large Fire Box, for burning Wood or Coal.
Swinging Hearth, that will not soil floor or burn carpets.
AND ESPECIALLY ADAPTED TO THE
WANTS OF EVERY HOUSEHOLD.
Excelsior Manufacturing Company,
612 and 614 Main Street.
ST. LOUIS, MO.
And CORSETS FOR LADIES,
No. 621 Olive Street, St. Louis, Mo.
L. O. SWOPE
515 OLIVE STREET,
For the purchase and sale of Real Estate, care and management of Estates, and negotiation of Loans.
P. C. BUTLER.
RESTAURANTS AND OYSTER SALOONS,
No. 716 North Fifth Street, and 321 Olive Street,
SAINT LOUIS, MO.
509 N. Sixth Street, bet. Washington Avenue and St. Charles.
IS STILL TREATING CHRONIC DISEASES WITH UNPARALLELED SUCCESS.
GERARD B. ALLEN,
A SELF-MADE MAN OF THE TRUEST TYPE, WHO BY INHERENT FORCE OF CHARACTER,
AND UNSELFISH SPIRIT,
HAS WON HIS WAY FROM HUMBLE BOYHOOD TO HONORED MANHOOD, AND NOW EXERTS A BENEFICENT INFLUENCE
IN THE CITY
TO WHOSE GREATNESS HE HAS SO ABLY CONTRIBUTED, ARE THESE PAGES INSCRIBED BY
History of the Illinois and St. Louis Bridge.
Each age and nation produce their own great works of art, some astrophies of ambition, others to subserve useful purposes, according as the people have advanced in art and civilization.The early Jews erected the tower of Babel, a monument of folly and mental weakness.The ancient Egyptians erected the pyramids, a monstrous exhibition of tyranny and ambition.The Greeks built the Parthenon and temple of Diana, evidences of intellectual and moral growth.The Romans built the Colosseum and the great acquiducts, evidences of personal regard and pleasure.
Modern civilization, affording a wider range of thought to the human faculties, demands a more useful order of mechanical structures to subserve the wants and purposes of the more advanced peoples of the world.
Stepping into the new era of use and greatness, we find the greatest work of mechanical art that the world has yet beheld is the Crystal Palace of the nineteenth century.It combines in one grand masterpiece of art, and one glow of associated beauty, the highest civilization and progress of man.
The leading feature of the present age is the strife for commercial dominion.In this department of civilization is enlisted more capital, talent and men than in any other.All the rapid strides of the race are made in its interest — whether in the achievement of art, of science, or of genius.The wild billows of the Atlantic have been defied by steam and electricity, and the two great continents of kindred shores united by these subtle agents; and now with one steady, grand march, does civilization, carried by the tides of men, continue its journey to the West — to the high mountains, and the broad and calmer waters of the wide Pacific Ocean.With these great movements, come the masterworks of mechanic arts.
Since the invention of the steam engine, the railway may be regarded as the greatest aid to civilization the arts have produced, on account of the rapid intercommunion of men and ideas and the exchange of products.But a great railway without bridges to cross the streams lying along its track, would be comparatively impracticable.And yet, notwithstanding
2the usefulness of bridges, the greater the structure demanded, the greater the difficulties to be overcome for its accomplishment.
Neither the common mind nor the rival mind is willing to yield without complaint, and sometimes even opposition is made to great enterprises.In fact there is one thing common in the history of all great undertakings that have to break a new path: they have to combat against frivolous objections and contempt, and, even in the best cases, against the unsympathetic attitude of the masses.At the same time it must be confessed that these opposing elements have never failed to pass into their opposites, as soon as perseverance, talent and business energy on the part of individuals have, in spite of them, realized what has once been acknowledged as possible and necessary.In all such cases, contempt has been exchanged for admiration, doubt has been compelled to give way; and the more rapidly and victoriously the enterprise, which was once so strongly doubted or even assailed, progresses, the more surprisingly does the number of those increase who would fain have it believed that they stood as prophets of good, by its cradle.Such was the case — to confine our examples to American soil — with the Erie canal, with the leveling of Chicago, with the Pacific railroads, and finally with that immense structure which, before the face of St. Louis, spans the Father of Waters.This one circumstance might be sufficient to secure the work its proper place among the great feats of humanity in modern times.But such is no longer necessary as an argument; the structure has its days of combat behind it — already its creators can point with silent finger to the actual progress which it has made, and to the point which it has at this moment attained, and allow that which has already been accomplished to speak for that which is yet to be accomplished.And it speaks irresistibly; it tells us not only that the completion of a work which in its line has no peer, is accomplished, but it tells us also that, as in the case of the Pacific railways, the goal was reached many a day sooner than the calculations and pre-suppositions led any one to expect.
That the trade of the central portion of the Mississippi Valley, which centers in St. Louis, and advances every year with such gigantic strides, was not sufficiently provided for by the present arrangements for transportation across the broad stream which separates Missouri and Illinois, or, to speak more correctly, the true East and West of the United States, has been known and seen by every one for many years.Nor could it be, without a great bridge at St. Louis, the central city of the continent.
Passing from this general allusion to the struggle which enterprise is compelled to wage against established conditions, I at once submit a general statement of the great bridge now spanning in magnificent grandeur the Father of Waters at the city of my love and hope.
The subject of constructing a bridge across the Mississippi river at St. Louis was seriously considered from time to time many years before any positive action was taken.The river had been sounded, plans
3proposed, estimates made, and advantages considered, long before the time had apparently arrived for the work to begin.An act was passed by the Missouri Legislature in 1864, incorporating the Illinois and St. Louis Bridge Company, and fixing the capital stock at $1,000,000.This act was approved February 5th, 1864.An amended act was passed and approved February 20th, 1865.
The Legislature of Illinois passed an act, which was approved February 16th, 1865, authorizing the incorporators of the Missouri act, under certain stipulations, to build a bridge to the Illinois shore, near the dyke.
An Act of Congress was also passed, and approved July 25th, 1866, authorizing the construction of certain bridges, one of which was to be built at St. Louis.
Now that the necessary legislation was secured for the purpose of bridging the river at St. Louis, the attention of capitalists and engineers was more especially directed to the actual work itself.And yet, knowing the great magnitude of the work, the immense undertaking it would be, and the amount of capital necessary for its construction, enterprising and wealthy men were baffled at its greatness.But a great cause always brings its hero.Not long were the legislative acts upon the statute books of the two States and the nation, before Captain James B. Eads took hold of the work, and early in the spring of 1867 his plans were made for the bridge, and the Company organized on the first day of May of that year, with the following officers and board of directors:
Charles K. Dickson, of St. Louis, President.
Robert Lennox Kennedy, of New York, Vice-President.
James A. Britton, of St. Louis, Treasurer.
James B. Eads, of St. Louis, Chief Engineer.
John A. Dillon, of St. Louis, Secretary.
G. C. Fabian, of St. Louis, Auditor.
William Taussig, Wm. M. McPherson, J. H. Britton.
Gerard B. Allen, John G. Copelin, John R. Lionberger.
Immediately succeeding the organization of the company, stock subscriptions were taken together with some preliminary steps, and the chief engineer authorized to advertise for proposals for the masonry of the bridge, and the work was put under contract in August, 1867.Mr. James Andrews of Pittsburg being the successful, and only, bidder.
About this time, and in the face of a promising prospect of St. Louis securing the long coveted prize of a bridge across the Mississippi, a rival company was formed with the apparent designed of bridging the river, but a little distance from the present structure.This new company was organized under an act of the Illinois Legislature, approved February the
421st, 1867, and entitled an act to incorporate the Illinois and St. Louis Bridge Company.
This new organization was entitled the Illinois and St. Louis Bridge Company with the following list of officers:
DANIEL R. GARRISON, President.
E. P. TANSEY, Secretary and Treasurer.
S. S. POST, Engineer.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS:
DANIEL E. GARRISON, JAMES HARRISON, CHAS. P. CHOUTEATJ, H. C. CREVELING, LUTHER C. CLARK, J. R. STANFORD, WILLIAM E. MORRISON, DAVID GILLESPIE, GEORGE JUDD,
R. P. TANSEY.
The organization of this new company at once engendered strife and opposition between the rivals, and weakened the public mind about the success of either.Controversy followed in the press, and prominent men took grounds against each other in the contest.And now that the bridge is built, and we come to write its history, the more complete it is, the more interest will attach to it.
Neither the time nor the opportunity could be lost to secure a work so important to St. Louis and the great West; therefore the controversy once begun was hastened to a conclusion by a speedy discussion.A card was published in the Missouri Democrat, in explanation of some points touching the controversy, from Mr. L. B. Boomer, of Chicago, Engineer of the new company, as follows:
THE ILLINOIS AND ST. LOUIS BRIDGE COMPANY.
ST. Louis, November 25, 1867.
Recent publications in your columns, and in those of other city papers, charging ulterior purposes on the part of the company which I have heretofore represented, require a brief reply.Fairness requires that you should give this reply as prominent a place in your columns as you gave the unfounded charges referred to.
First — Then, it is not true that I represent Chicago, or any parties in that city except myself.
Second — The Illinois and St. Louis Bridge Company is duly incorporated under the laws of Missouri, and by special Legislative act, under the laws of Illinois, with an exclusive right in that State, in St. Clair county, for twenty-five years.
Third — Every step, so far taken, by this company has been with a view to the earliest safest and most economical construction of a bridge opposite this city on the best scientific principles; and in furtherance of this end, it is true, as charged, that I have succeeded in enlisting in the enterprise prominent gentlemen of this city, whose names are identified with her growth and prosperity.
I have not sought, and do not now desire, a newspaper controversy for the purpose of interfering with the plans of others; but as this has been begun, and persistently continued against the Illinois and St. Louis Bridge Company, I will merely say that the structure now being commenced at Washington avenue is, in my judgment, if not IMPRACTICABLE, needlessly and extravagantly costly in plan, and the so-called St. Louis and Illinois Bridge Company has no legal existence or chartered rights in Illinois, and, as held by some of the best lawyers in this city, is yet a mere copartnership in Missouri.
The first proposition, as to the cost and impracticability of the plan, I am prepared to discuss before any board of engineers in the country, and abide the decision of such tribunal.
The question of the legal existence of that company in Illinois, the Illinois and St. Louis
Bridge Company is willing to submit, on an agreed case, to the decision of either State or United States Court, and perfectly willingly to abandon the field if the decision shall be adverse to it.
An early settlement of these practical questions would tend more to the speedy construction of a bridge, than bandying epithets or abusing Chicago in the columns of the newspapers. Respectfully, L. B. BOOMER,
This was followed the next day by a rejoinder from Capt. Eads, Chief Engineer of the St. Louis and Illinois Bridge Company.
ST. LOUIS AND ILLINOIS BRIDGE.
ST. Louis, November 26, 1867.
MR. EDITOR — My attention has been called to the communication of Mr. L. B. Boomer, of Chicago, in your issue of this morning.It is unnecessary for me to notice more than one portion of his letter.
Mr. Boomer pronounces the plan of the bridge I am constructing, at Washington avenue, impracticable and extravagantly costly.
I have only to reply that Mr. Boomer has never examined the plans of this bridge, and knows nothing whatever of the estimate of its cost, save the gross sum that has been published by newspaper reporters, and which is fifteen hundred thousand dollars less than the published estimates of his own bridge.
The plans and calculations for the bridge I am building have been most cheerfully shown by me to every engineer who has called to inspect them.I am, and shall continue to be, most happy to show and explain them to any engineer of respectable standing in the country at all times, and shall esteem it an especial favor if any one or more of them will point out anything impracticable or unnecessarily costly in its details and construction.
I feel confident that no engineer who regards his reputation will, after a careful examination of the plans and estimates of this bridge, assert that it is either impracticable or extravagantly costly.
JAS. B. EADS,
Chief Engineer St. Louis and Illinois Bridge Company.
This correspondence was then followed by a letter from the Hon. William A. Pile, member of Congress from St. Louis, addressed to the Hon. E. W. Fox, Vice President of the Board of Trade in this city, urging a settlement of the difficulty.
LETTER FROM GENERAL W. A. PILE.
WASHINGTON, D. C., Decembers.
HON. E. W. Fox, Vice-President Board of Trade, St. Louis:
MY DEAR SIR — Since leaving St. Louis, about October 15th, I have conversed much with prominent business men here and in New York, in reference to the growth and prosperity of the West, and especially of Missouri and St. Louis.I have also heard the men of the Northwest discussing their prospects, and elaborating their plans for the future.One point has been so strongly impressed upon me that I desire to call your attention to it, and to suggest that more vigorous and earnest efforts ought at once be put forth in relation thereto by the citizens of St. Louis.
I refer to the ABSOLUTE NECESSITY of a bridge across the Mississippi river at our city.The bridges at Quincy, Illinois, and Kansas City, Missouri, are being pushed forward with all the rapidity that money and energy can produce.The Kansas City, Fort Scott and Neosho Valley Railroad is to be built as rapidly as possible through the Southwest.Men here who are interested in Chicago, assert that in eighteen months they will be able to ship produce from Southwest Missouri and Kansas to Chicago, and ship merchandise and lumber to that immense and growing country without breaking bulk, thus cutting directly across the country and trade that legitimately belongs to our city.
I cannot learn that much is being done toward the construction of a bridge at St. Louis, but I see from the papers that the rival companies are each trying to weaken the public faith in the other.
I think the Board of Trade and Chamber of Commerce ought at once to appoint a joint committee to confer with the boards of directors of these two companies and bring such public pressure to bear upon them as will compel an amicable adjustment between them, so as to combine the capital and energy of both upon the construction of one bridge, to be completed at the earliest possible moment.
It seems to me clear that capitalists will not put money into two bridges now, and to attempt to build two is to defeat both.If it has taken years of talk to get one started, how long will it take to build two?
These companies should not be allowed by their rivalry to inflict irreparable injury upon the growth and prosperity of a great city.
The party or parties who, by unreasonable obstinacy or devotion to self-interest, should prevent a consolidation of all the interests in one enterprise in order to its early completion, ought to be publicly denounced and held up to the execration of the community.
Of course I express no opinion, for I have no knowledge as to who is at fault in the matter. I only know that the attempt to build two bridges is weakening and destroying confidence in the construction of either, and that every day that vigorous work is not being done on a bridge at St. Louis, is a day of great and irreparable loss to the city.
I think, judging from present appearances, that there will be no serious opposition in Congress to the bill prepared and sent here from the steamboat-men of the West, and revised and amended by myself, in consultation with the Treasury department, "Providing for better security of life and property, and promoting commerce on the navigable waters flowing into the Gulf of Mexico."
The necessary appropriations for carrying forward vigorously the work so opportunely begun on the Des Moines and Rock Island rapids I am confident will be promptly made.I learn with the utmost pleasure of the satisfactory arrangements made with home and Eastern capitalists for the completion of the North Missouri Railroad.
The work for permanently deepening the mouth of the Mississippi river, I am informed at the Engineer's Department, is progressing rapidly.
I hope to have an assay office established at St. Louis by act of Congress this session; also to make that a port of entry.
If all this were realized, and we had a bridge under way and being built with a will, I should feel that our boasting of the future greatness of St. Louis was about to be more than realized.
Begging your pardon for inflicting so long a letter upon you, I am yours, very respectfully,
WM. A. PILE.
This discussion widened as it progressed,and the presidents of the two rival companies, next exchanged cards as given below.
THE MISSISSIPPI BRIDGE — INTERESTING CORRESPONDENCE.
PRESIDENT'S OFFICE, ILL. & ST. LOUIS BRIDGE CO., 320 N. THIRD ST.,
ST. LOUIS, MO., December 4, 1867.
CHAS. K. DICKSON, ESQ., President St. Louis and Illinois Bridge Company:
DEAR SIR — The great importance of a bridge over the Mississippi River at this place, and the interests of our citizens in its early and speedy construction, render it desirable that the rights of the companies which we respectively represent should be settled as early as practicable.Our legal advisers and the community may differ in opinion as to our respective rights, and so long as these differences continue and are unsettled, they tend to diminish the confidence of the public in both enterprises, and hinder that which we most earnestly desire and are endeavoring to accomplish — the speedy construction of a bridge.
The company which you represent claims the right to construct a bridge in Illinois, while the company which I represent claims the exclusive right.
The question is an important one to capitalists who might desire to invest money in the enterprises.In view of these facts, I propose that proceedings be commenced in Illinois, in an amicable manner, to test the rights of your company, and that an agreed case can be made and heard at Springfield, Illinois, at the coming January term of the Supreme Court of that State.
If this proposition should meet your views, our legal advisers can, at once, agree upon the details, and, under such an arrangement, I have no doubt the matter can be settled before the first of February next.
D. R. GARRISON,
President Illinois and St. Louis Bridge Company.
ST. LOUIS & ILL. BRIDGE Co., OFFICE ST. W. COR. THIRD & PINE STS.,
ST. Louis, December 6, 1867.
D. R. GARRISON, President Illinois and St. Louis Bridge Company
DEAR SIR — Your communication to me of the 4th of December has been received, and I have given it the attention that the importance of the interest involved demands, and concur with you in the desirableness of having the question at issue between the companies settled at as early a day as possible, and will join you in endeavoring to have the matter presented to the Supreme Court of Illinois at the ensuing term of that court.If, therefore, the counsel for your company will prepare such papers as they deem essential for presenting the case properly and fairly before that court, I will at once submit them to our counsel for their examination, and, if they deem it necessary, for such additions or alterations as they may think essential in order to present the questions at issue between the companies.
CHAS. K. DICKSON, President.
The discussion, with varying form, continued in the public press with more or less acrimony, bringing into the controversy the attorneys on both sides, until February, 1868, when a settlement was effected between the contestants, the Garrison company retiring, the Eads party taking the name of the retiring company, and proceeding at once with every possible effort to the accomplishment of the great work before them.
Nothing remained in the way, to obstruct the progress of the enterprise, but the actual work itself, which proved to be attended with many difficulties and great obstacles to overcome.But the work determined upon, its necessity and the time urging its accomplishment, it was pushed forward with a vigor and conscious assurance of success.
The first work for constructing the bridge was put under contract in August, 1867, and a cofferdam commenced for the west abutment pier, as well as the quarrying of the rock for the masonry.
Owing to an immense amount of debris, deposited on the western shore of the river, including wrecks of steamboats, and almost every kind of materials belonging to a steamboat, it was found very difficult to reach the foundation for the west abutment pier, and more especially when it was impossible to drive the piling for the cofferdam below the foundation of the pier. But after a sort, the foundation was reached, and the first stone laid January 25th, 1868.Thus the winter of 1867 and 1868 was consumed on the western abutment pier, and in building it above water level.
In the spring of 1868 Capt. Eads' health failed, and he was compelled to go to Europe, where he remained through the summer of that year.During his absence the work progressed very slowly, there being little else done than prepare the stone for the masonry.On his return, with health greatly improved, the plans for the caissons for the central piers were perfected at once, and the work commenced on them and pushed forward with great vigor.The first caisson was launched in the fall of
81869, and the second immediately commenced.During the winter of'60 and '70 both piers were finished.The great success of the caissons induced the Company to use one for building the east abutment pier and go to the rock foundation instead of resting it upon the earth below, as was first determined upon.The sinking of the east abutment pier is regarded by engineers as one of the greatest achievements of engineering science on account of the great depth reached with such great success: the abutment pier being 110 feet six inches below the water line at the time the solid rock was reached.Barely have submarine divers gone to such a great depth.In sinking this abutment pier, 150 men were in almost constant employ.Thirty men to a watch, working under the immense mass of masonry, were changed every forty five minutes.At a depth of ninety feet, the air pressure was fifty-three pounds to the square inch — almost equal to the pressure inside of a steam boiler.To overcome the pressure of water, and make up for leakages, down deep in this immense work, the necessary air was pumped through large air conductors, driven by four steam engines of 125 horse power each.Two of these engines were at work constantly and part of the time all of them.The piers completed, a more detailed account of the entire work is in order.
The plan of the Bridge is quite original in many particulars; and, now completed, is, in all probability, superior to any structure of the kind in the world.So great and important is the structure, that a complete description of the main part will not be uninteresting to the general reader; for the work itself has its lesson as well as its value, and, therefore, its manner of building, as well as its style of structure, will be of great public interest.
The Piers of The Bridge.
The locality at the river chosen for the bridge, was during its building a scene of the strangest and most exciting kind.Along the banks extensive workshops, heaps of hewn stone, beams, iron-work and cement barrels, forges, offices and sheds for supplies, derricks and other arrangements for hoisting, and pile-drivers, whose construction alone is a sort of miracle, and finally, the lofty bridge-scaffoldings, composed of thousands of beams, arms, and parts of iron machines over the shore piers, which were then in progress of construction inside of strong caissons.In the midst of the river, 500 feet from either shore, and 520 feet distant from each other, were seen the same scaffoldings, only more complicated and more lofty, and, notwithstanding their colossal size, affording an almost elegant spectacle in their wonderful symmetry.Structures of all kinds, and palisades that go down a hundred feet into the river, intended to break the current, and more particularly the floating ice in winter, surrounded these wonderful constructions that rose from the bosom of the river.
Like the building-yards on shore, and even more than these, they were crowded with a perfect bee-hive of engineers and workmen, whose
9self-conscious ability was infinitely increased by the enormous mechanical powers which stood there ready for use at every step, in the form of floating derricks, steam engines, pumps, and hydraulic jacks.These were the building-yards of the two piers.Under these scaffoldings and iron constructions, the heavy masses of stone which were intended to carry and hold the three arches of the bridge, mostly counterparts of the ponderous structures of the ancient Egyptians, were put together.But how much easier was the task of those ancients, who piled up their edifices in the familiar element of atmospheric air!In our case they had to penetrate into the deeps, but not, like the miner, into the solid element of the earth; they had to break through a volume of water thirty feet deep, and, after arriving at the bottom, to burrow through the sixty and ninety feet thick layers of treacherous, ever-changing Mississippi sand, in order to rest the basis of the piers upon the eternal ribs of the earth itself — on the rocks of primeval worlds.
The investigations of years in regard to the undercurrent of the Mississippi have shown that no river in the world changes its sand-bed so rapidly and to such an extent; and more particularly the soundings that were made near St. Louis showed that at times, when the river overflows, its sand-layers may be carried away to the depth of forty feet, and, under extraordinary circumstances, scoured down to the very rock itself.This demonstrated the necessity of laying the basis of the piers upon the rock itself, which under one pier is ninety feet, under the other one hundred and twenty feet, below the ordinary high-water line.Inasmuch, on the other hand, as the law of Congress, made in the interest of navigation, prescribes that the height of the arches shall be fifty feet above the city directrix, or ordinary high-water line of the river, it results that the entire height of the piers must reach 165 and 194 feet respectively.
The system by which the base was laid upon the rock was that of sinking.On colossal iron caissons (open below and resting upon the sand itself), which, with the increasing weight of the piers built on top of them, and as the sand under them was removed to the upper world, sunk deeper and deeper, this lowering was effected.In order, however, to render the caissons — which, in spite of the thickness of their iron walls and their solid Construction, might not be able to withstand the pressure of the growing masonry and the masses of sand that pressed against their side wall — capable of resistance, the atmosphere, by means of enormous air-pumps, was compressed in them in such a manner that their power of resistance could be increased to meet any exigency.When the caisson, or air chamber, as it is called with propriety, struck upon the rock — that is, when the sand-pumps working it had removed the gigantic layers of sand through which it had to penetrate, and when the pier that rested on the caisson was separated only by the air-chamber from the rock — then it (the caisson) was filled with concrete, which completed the indissoluble connection between pier and rock.When the last particle of compressed air in the air-chamber
10gave place to this indestructible compound of cement and stone, all that remained to be done was to fill up in a similar manner the perpendicular shafts which communicated between the air-chamber and the upper world, and the whole structure of the pier in solid compactness, incorporated with the rock far below, stood aloft, bathing high above its colossal and yet elegant form in the rays of the sun, out of the floods of the river.
In The Air-Chamber.
During the last few months of the construction of the piers a visit to one of the air-chambers under the piers was one of the principal attractions that St. Louis had to show to visitors.The further the piers themselves advanced — that is, the deeper the air-chamber sunk with its burden — the greater was the compression of the air necessary to render them capable of supporting the immense weight which increased with every inch of sinking, and all the harder was the work inside the caisson.When the air-chamber of the east pier, on the 28th of February, 1870, reached the depth of ninety-five feet under the bed of the river, with a weight of 20,000 tons upon it, the workmen who removed the last of the sand had to work under the pressure of three atmospheres; and it was not possible so entirely to avoid all kinds of mischances, as had hitherto been the case, without changing the workmen as frequently as possible.In order to afford a more complete understanding of the matter, we must remark that the introduction of the compressed air into the caisson was measured with such wonderful accuracy that the sinking could be regulated to an inch.This sinking was accurately calculated according to the quantity of the sand removed from beneath the air-chamber, which was nine feet high.The sand itself was removed by means of powerful pumps, which pumped up the sand in great streams after it had been softened and brought into the condition of drifting-sand by means of water supplied from a hose, and then driven back to the river from whose depths it had been taken.As already stated, a number of shafts passing vertically down the pier effected a chimney-kind of communication between the air-chamber and the upper world.In the central and widest of these was a winding stair-case, which was lengthened as the pier reached downward, and was used for people to pass up and down.The smaller shafts, which also passed down the pier perpendicularly, contained the pipes which served to introduce the compressed air, the hose for moistening the sand, the pump which removed it, machines for the introduction of materials, and a telegraphic arrangement by means of which the workmen from beneath, "where all things hideous are," were able to correspond every moment with "those that breathe in the rosy light."
The entrance into the caisson itself was effected by means of an airlock at the bottom of the winding stair-case — a lock which, like the caisson, was constructed of thick iron, and was an integral part of it.As soon as the chamber was entered, which was capable of holding six or eight persons, the current of air admitted rushed round with such impetuosity
11that even strong organizations entering this kingdom of darkness and night for the first time could not disembarrass themselves of a certain feeling of uneasiness.The iron door that led to the outer world pressed firmer against its frame, by the force of the air streaming in, than could be done by a lock or any other contrivance.The stop cock through which the air streamed in was not closed until the atmosphere in the air-lock had reached the same density as that in the main part of the caisson.As soon as this was the case, the door leading into the caisson opened of itself, and we were ready to enter this subterraneous workshop, where even the clearest voice loses its sound, and where, deep under the echos of human speech — yea, deep under the water's undermost depths — busy workmen paved the way for the sinking pier.
For a while one felt perfectly comfortable in this underworld — a world such as no mythology and no superstition ever dreamed of.The transition, indeed, became apparent by pain in the ears, bleeding at the nose, or a feeling of suffocation; but these inconveniences and seeming dangers, inevitable upon such a visit to hell, were insignificant in comparison with the interest which it offered.It was undertaken by hundreds and hundreds of visitors, including many ladies, and none returned from that depth without carrying along with them one of the most remarkable reminiscences of their whole life.Shrouded in a mantle of vapor, labored the workmen there loosening the sand; dim flickered the flames of the lamps, and the air had such a strange density and moisture that one wandered about almost as if he were in a dream.For a short time all this was extremely interesting and delightful, but it was not long before the wish to escape again from this strange situation gained the upper hand over the charm which it exercised.Gladly did the visitor, after a quarter of an hour, re-enter the air-lock, with an unfeigned feeling of relief, to watch the air beginning to escape from this chamber.At once the door behind him leading from the caisson closed by the denser air, and fastened as firmly as if there was a mountain behind it.The compressed element escaped whistling from the air-lock; the air within was more and more equalized with the air without; a few minutes, and they were of equal density; then the door, no longer pressed against its frame by the dense atmosphere, opened to the winding stairs, and the visitor came forth taking a long breath, and, to use Schiller's words, once more "greets the heavenly light" which shone from far above down the shaft.
Without doubt the construction of the caissons, the building of the piers, the scientific and mechanical appliances and principles, affords one, of the most interesting lessons of modern discovery; but a proper presentation of the facts and principles belonging thereto can only be stated by the professional engineer and the man of science, a thing which ought to be done in detail.
The four piers of the bridge are as follows, in their height above and below the water level:
|West abutment pier,||22||00||130||00|
|East abutment pier,||102||00||210||00|
Twelve thousand cubic yards of gray granite, was brought from the State of Maine, near Portland, and used for the exterior facing of the abutments and piers above low water mark.Twelve thousand cubic yards of sand stone, from the St. Genevieve quarries in Missouri are used in the approaches, and two thousand cubic yards of Missouri Granite, from near Iron Mountain, is used in the base courses of the approaches.All the stone was selected with great care, and with a view to the special adaptability of every kind to a certain use.
With this brief reference to the construction of the piers of the bridge, we pass to the superstructure.In the summer of 1871, the superstructure was put under contract to the Keystone Bridge Building Company, of Pittsburg.Each span consists of four truss-ribbed arches, each rib made of two steel tubes that are placed twelve feet apart in the span.The coupling pins and fastenings are made of the best quality of mild steel; the brace bars are made of the best quality of charcoal iron.The use of steel is a new feature in the construction of bridges, when used in the parts under compressive strain, and takes the place of cast-iron, which has heretofore been used for such purposes.Besides serving a better purpose than cast-iron, it enables the construction of much larger spans than ever before made in the arch style of bridge.The length of the center span of this bridge being 525 feet in the clear, the use of steel also enables the construction of a finer bridge, one more delicate and beautiful in its architectural appearance.
To put the arches in their places upon the great piers, involved the solution of another problem in engineering science.Desirous of avoiding, if possible, the old cumbersome way of scaffolding below to afford support to the span as it was being built out from the pier, required the discovery of some new means by which to execute this important part of the work, and the means was no longer wanted than Col. Henry Mad, chief assistant to Capt. Eads, presented the mode which was adopted and put into use with perfect success.A system of hock chains, reaching over immense wooden structures, on top of the piers, were let down and made fast to the growing spans, and as each part grew from the pier, toward the center, in open space, chains were applied from time to time to support the great weight of the growing arch.
The superstructure is made of crown steel, and every possible test was
13made long in advance of its use, to insure its use and strength; for wisdom constantly dictated the supreme necessity of making every part suited to the whole, so as to render this great structure safe, durable and useful.
By this method of working with hog chains, no difficulty lay in the way of building the great spans of the bridge.It is a great improvement on the old cumbersome way, and this invention of this new method of supporting spans, is an unquestioned evidence of the great engineering ability of Col. Flad, who has the drawings and patent, in his own right, for the invention, notwithstanding others at a distance have published the invention as thiers.
The superstructure contains 2,200 tons of steel and 3,400 tons of iron, making a total of 5,600 tons of metal in the bridge.
The bridge proper is 2,223 feet in length, and the tunnel extends from the west end through the heart of the city a distance of 4,886 feet in length.The entire expense of constructing this vast fabric for commercial use is $10,000,000.Its completion is a fulfillment of prophecy, the accomplishment of a mighty work in the legitimate growth of American civilization, the wealth, power and population of the people.And now what will this gigantic work subserve, in the present and future interest of the people?
The length of the tunnel is 4,880 feet, from which were excavated 210,000 cubic yards of dirt.It contains 55,000 cubic yards of masonry.
From the East St. Louis levee to Third street in St. Louis, the entire masonry of the bridge amounts to 103,000 square yards.The stone for this immense mass of masonry, was obtained from several quarries.About 80 per cent, of the whole, magnesia limestone, and was brought from the Grafton quarries, a few miles above Alton, in the State of Illinois.
For the present, at least thirteen railroads will have their termini on the Illinois shore of the Mississippi in East St. Louis.And at least eleven railways will soon leave St. Louis itself, cutting the State of Missouri in all directions.Of only three of all these have we any statistical reports, and these relate only to the freight traffic of the year 1867.They show that during that year 767,400 tons of freight were carried over these lines.The most modest estimate of the traffic of railways now in operation cannot place it below a million of tons.The contracts already made with the different railway companies, and those still to be negotiated, secure to the Bridge Company an average tariff of 65 cents a ton, which would yield a yearly revenue from freight alone of $550,500.The remaining traffic (horse-cars, coal carts,farmers' wagons, and other freight conveyances, along withcattle transport),according to present estimates, may be reckoned at $129,647, and passengers on the railways, $112,000, so that altogether the total revenue would amount to $892,147.From this
14sum $40,000 must be subtracted for annual incidental expenses, and there will remain over a sum equal to eight and a half per cent, on a capital of ten millions.
This beautiful structure is not only be a source of pride to every Missourian in particular and every American in general, but its massive and yet magnificently elegant forms are a source of astonishment to the ordinary spectator and of admiring appreciation to the professional engineer.It has brilliantly verified the words with which the architect closed the report which he laid before the company in the spring of 1868, and which are as follows:
"It is safe in stating that rarely has an enterprise been inaugurated which appeals so strongly to the support of our citizens of all classes, which promises so much to add to the welfare and prosperity of the city, and which offers such a safe and remunerative return for the labor and capital invested in it."
A very brief classification of the approved bridges of the day, and an allusion to specimens of the various kinds, will, perhaps, enable the casual reader to receive a better impression of the magnitude of the St. Louis bridge.There are four prominent styles of bridges, which are generally adopted by the engineering profession when they aim to erect something that will endure to remote generations — the tubular, the suspension, the lattice, and the arch — all constructed of iron, in one or more of its forms. The tubular, invented by Robert Stephenson, although materially aided by Fairbairn, will always, we think, be regarded as one of the great ideas of the nineteenth century.It is a straight, hollow, rectangular tube.The Britannia bridge is the grandest specimen; for its longest span or reach between supports, is 459 feet.But long as it is, it was lifted in one piece 100 feet high, to its present position.The Victoria bridge has no span of equal length, nor was it elevated in the same way.
The suspension, in its crude forms, is of ancient date.It is found in all lands, but until later years it has never received the indorsement of engineers as the reliable support of railway trains; and in this respect it can hardly be said to have thoroughly disarmed sound criticism, when we claim we are building something that is truly permanent.It possesses some qualities that will always render it popular.It can be constructed more easily in many positions.A much greater span can be obtained than by any other known method, and the cost is comparatively less.Perhaps this last feature can be understood when we remember that the Niagara bridge, with a span of 821 feet, was built for less than the yearly interest on the sum expended on the Britannia bridge.Its general construction is well known.In Europe, the prominent specimens are the Menai, by Telford, with a span of 580 feet, and the Freyburg, in Switzerland, with a span of 870 feet.In this country, Ellet and Robeling have identified themselves with the Wheeling, Niagara, Cincinnati, and other bridges.Ellet constructed the Wheeling bridge, 1,000 feet span, which
15failed to withstand the winds; yet Mr. Ellet was a great man.Mr. Roebling may be regarded as the great exponent of the suspension bridge in this country.His reputation may be well envied: for while the great engineers of Europe were declaring it was impossible, he went on with the Niagara bridge; and now, after eighteen years' successful usage, it has caused the engineers of the old world to reverse their theories.
He built the Cincinnati bridge, and if, in future times, the suspension shall have become recognized as a thoroughly safe, permanent structure for railway trains, to Mr. Robeling, more than any other, will the credit belong.
The lattice bridge has been and is now a very popular type of bridge. The name will readily convey a correct impression of its general construction.In some respects it is preferable to the tubular.It is less costly and is less rigid, which some claim to be an advantage.As fine a specimen of this kind, perhaps, as can be seen anywhere, is at Cologne, over the Rhine.Its longest reach is 330 feet.It is, however, liable to oscillation.
But yielding everything to the suspension and the lattice that can with reason be claimed for them, it is questionable whether they will possess the elements of perpetuity equally with the arch.We know arch bridges have endured for centuries; we do not yet know how long a railway suspension, tubular, or lattice bridge will continue.
The first cast-iron arch bridge was built in 1779, with a span of 100 feet.Many other iron-arch bridges have been successfully constructed.They have always been highly esteemed for their strength and durability.The great drawback, perhaps, has been an inability to construct them with a span so wide as to compare favorably with those of other styles.In England, the largest is the Southwark, with a span of 240 feet and a rise of 24 feet.Note this fact, and remember the length of the Britannia, 459 feet, and the length of the Cologne, 330 feet, and then the importance of the St. Louis bridge, with its span of 520 feet, will appear.
Its form is as enduring as any tested by the experience of ages.Its size surpasses that of any, when we consider the true comparison, the length of span.Its material, cast steel, is the best in the world, ranking with wrought-iron in the ratio of two to one.
The importance of the St. Louis bridge is still father increased when we consider its foundations, their depth, their mode of construction, and the attendant difficulties.
Other engineers of great eminence have proposed the erection of bridges of greater span than this, but it rarely occurs that the location and conditions of the case justify, as in this one, such bold grasp of mind on the part of the engineer, with the no less accompaniment of a proper manifestation of public spirit on the part of capitalists to carry out his design.
Mr. Latrobe, a noted engineer of Baltimore, expressed his opinion
16upon the construction of a bridge at St. Louis.He favored the use of piers higher than those of the present plan, requiring a stationary engine to draw the cars from either side to the center in passing over.He also advocated the use of spans 400 and 500 feet in length.
That modern engineers are anticipating something altogether superior to the past achievements, the following remarks of Mr. Roebling are evidence.He says:
"It was left to modern engineering, by the application of the principle of suspension, and by the use of wrought-iron, to solve the problem of spanning large rivers without intermediate supports.Cast and wrought-iron arches, of 100 feet and more, have been quite successful.Nor can it be said the limit of arching has been reached.Timber arches of much greater span have stood for years, and have rendered good service in this country as well on the continent of Europe.It is worthy of notice, however, and to be cited as a curious professional circumstance, that the best form of material, so profusely applied by nature in her elaborate constructions, has never been used in arching, although proposed on several occasions.This form is unquestionably the cylindrical, combined in small sections, as is illustrated by vegetable and animal structures.Where strength is to be combined with lightness and elegance, nature never wastes heavy, cumbrous masses.The architects of the middle ages fully illustrated this by their beautiful buttresses and flying arches, combinations of strength and stability, executed with the least amount of material.
"The wrought-iron pipe, now manufactured of all sizes and in such great perfection, offers to the engineer a material for arching which cannot be excelled.A wire cable, composed of an assemblage of wires, constitutes the best catenary arch for the suspension of great weights; and, as a parallel to this, if the catenary is reversed, the best upright arch for the support of a bridge may be formed by an assemblage of wrought-iron pipes, of one and a half or two inches diameter or more.Arches of 1,000 feet span and more may be rendered practicable and safe upon this system.I venture to predict that the two great rival systems of future bridge engineering will be the inverted and upright arch — the former made of wire, and the latter of pipe, both systems rendered stable by the assistance of lattice work, or by stays, trusses and girders."
Although not so great in length as the Victoria bridge over the St. Lawrence, which is nearly two miles long, nor the bridge over the Nebudda, in India, which is one and a half miles long, nor the bridge from Bassein to the main land, which is over three miles long, yet its magnificent spans and stately piers place it far above these bridges in character and structure.And now that it is built, it is grander than the Colussus at Rhodes, grander than the Pharos at Alexandria.It will vitalize the commerce of the Mississippi Valley, and unite the great railway chains between New York and San Francisco, the Lakes and the Gulf.It will
17place the name of its builder, Capt. James B. Eads, with those of Telford, Smeaton, Stephenson, and other distinguished engineers of the world. Mr. Eads stands prominent as one of the most enterprising and public-spirited citizens of St. Louis and of the country; and this enterprise, in which he has been more active than any other, will add greatly to his character and reputation, and they will become the public property of the country, even as the bridge itself is.His name is proverbial for the invariable success attending everything he undertakes, and with a worldwide reputation for practical ingenuity and indomitable energy, enhanced by his prominent identification with the success of this work.To him, and to the enlightened, public-spirited citizens who pledged their capital and influence to sustain the enterprise, will justly belong the glory that surely attaches to the Illinois and St. Louis Bridge.
The difficulty of raising money for the prosecution of any work, the value of which can only be demonstrated on paper, and not always in that manner to the satisfaction of prudent capitalists, early obtrudes itself upon eager projectors, however well founded the basis of their calculations.It was a matter of much labor, only sustained by ardent public spirit, to place properly before the monied magnates of the country the importance and worth of investments in our great bridge.As there was no similar structure in the world, the changing sources from which dividends were to arise, and doubts as to the cost of the work, led many to withhold the assistance of which they gravely questioned the profit.
At last the following announcement, which appeared in the Republican of February 21st, 1869, assured our citizens that work was soon to be commenced,, and that time only was then needed for the consummation of their hopes:
THE BRIDGE PROBLEM SOLVED.
It is with pleasure we record the fact that the financial problem connected with the great undertaking of bridging the Mississippi at this point has been satisfactorily solved, and the enterprise assumed a definite and tangible shape.
A short time ago the Bridge Company appointed Wm. M. McPherson and Amos Cotting, of the Banking House of Jameson, Smith & Cotting, of New York, a committee to visit New York and ascertain what could be done among New York capitalists in regard to the stock of the bridge.Mr. McPherson has just returned, and we learn the committee met with the most encouraging success.A prospectus was presented to capitalists and railroad men proposing to make a basis of three millions subscription, and for any additional funds needed to sell the bonds of the company.
After a few days devoted to discussion of the whole matter, a subscription was opened, and in two days the amount deemed necessary to fill up the subscription was obtained.
Mr. McPherson is warm in his commendation of the banking house of Messrs. Jameson, Smith & Cotting, and thinks our city is indebted to the volunteer aid of all the members of the firm for the success in obtaining so prompt a subscription for so large a sum.The list of subscribers embraces many of the wealthy and prominent firms and business men in New York.The whole subscription could have been obtained in New York, but it was thought right that St. Louis capital and enterprise should be represented in so important a matter, and hence a portion was reserved to be filled in this city.
Friday and Saturday the friends of the bridge in this city were seen, and the amount left for St. Louis was made up; and we now have the pleasure of presenting the list of subscribers
making up the aggregate sum of three millions of dollars.After this amount was subscribed the books were closed.
Morris K. Jesup,
Charles K. Dickson,
Robert Lenore Kennedy,
J. Boarman, J
ohnson & Co.,
W. J. Lewis,
E. D. Morgan & Co.,
Alex. M. White,
Greely & Gale,
John A. Ubsdell,
A. B. Boyles,
Hudson E. Bridge,
John A. Stewart,
E. A. Quintard,
Jameson, Smith & Cotting,
Wm. Whiteright, Jr.,
Amos E. Eno,
James B. Eads,
Wm. M. McPherson,
John D. Perry,
John G. Copelin,
James H. Britton,
James H. Benedict,
John E. Lionberger,
Junius S. Morgan,
S. E. Filley,
Dabney, Morgan & Co.,
Girard B. Allen, Taussig,
Livingston & Co.,
Morton, Bliss & Co.,
Thos. W. Piersall,
John J. Roe,
The work will now be prosecuted with the utmost vigor, in order to secure its completion in the shortest time possible, and the public contemplate the certain prospect of seeing the great Mississippi spanned at this point at no very distant day.
The Men Who Built the Bridge.
JAMES B. EADS, the chief engineer of the bridge, the man gifted with the high conception and engineering skill requisite for marking out a new plan, and carrying it forward to a triumphant fulfillment, was born in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, in 1820.In early life he evinced a strong love for machinery and mechanical operations, and the event has proved that his youthful predilections were marshalling him in the path which he was afterwards to tread with such honor, and with such transcendent usefulness.When nine years old, the family moved to Louisville.The engine on board the steamer excited in the boy so much admiration and curiosity that the engineer was induced to explain to him the operation of the principal parts of the machinery.
So well did the lad profit by this one lesson in steam engineering, that a little more than two years after, he constructed a miniature engine which was worked by steam.When about eleven years old his father fitted him a small workshop, and there he constructed models of saw-mills, fire-engines, steamboats, and electrotyping machines.One of the pastimes of his childhood was, to take in pieces and put together again the family clock; and at twelve years he was able to do this with a patent lever watch with no tool but his pocket knife.At the age of thirteen, misfortune having overtaken his father, he was thrown upon the world to fight the battles of life with his own arm.Landing in St. Louis, barefooted and penniless, he for a time sold apples in the streets of our city to win bread for himself, and to assist in supporting his mother and his sister.
Having obtained, soon after, a situation in a mercantile house, with which he remained several years, and having free access, during that time, to the excellent library of the senior partner, he used the opportunity to study mechanics, machinery, and civil engineering.He next passed some time as an officer on one of the Mississippi steamboats, and there obtained that knowledge of the great river which prepared him for the important services which lie was afterward to perform.
In 1842 he formed a copartnership with Case & Nelson, boat-builders, for the purpose of recovering steamboats and their cargoes which had been sunk or wrecked in the river.This plan succeeded so well that the operations of the company extended ere long from the Balize to Galena, and into the tributaries of the Mississippi.In 1845, having sold out his interest in this company, he started a factory for the making of glassware, and this was the first experiment of the kind west of the Mississippi.In 1847 he returned to his old business of recovering boats and property wrecked in the river.In this new company they began with about fifteen hundred dollars.Ten years from that time the business had been so successful, that the property of the firm was valued at nearly half a million dollars.In the winter of 1855-6, Mr. Eads made a formal proposition to Congress to keep open for a term of years the Western rivers, by removing all obstructions and keeping the channels free.A bill was reported, and defeated by Jeff. Davis and J. P. Benjamin.On account of ill-health, Mr. Eads retired from business in 1857, having prepared himself, however, by a life of activity, energy, and success, for the more important part which he was destined to take in the affairs of the country in the construction of the Western iron-clads.
When, during the first year of the war, the Federal government decided upon equipping a fleet of novel construction for service upon the Mississippi and its tributaries, Mr. Eads received the contract for building the first seven of these boats.The contract was signed on the 7th of August, 1861, and specified that the vessels were to be ready for their crews and armaments in sixty-five days.Habituated, as we now are, to the contemplation of the achievements of the war, and the singular examples of energy which it often developed, the building of seven iron-clad steamers, in sixty-five days, when the wood of which they were to be constructed was yet standing in the forest, and the rolls were not yet fashioned for rolling the iron for their armor — is an undertaking, the possibility of which, many able men might gravely question.Yet it was done.On the 12th of October, 1861, the first United States iron-clad, with her boilers and engines on board, was launched at Carondelet (now within the limits of the city of St. Louis), in forty-five days from the laying of her keel.She was named the "St. Louis," by Rear-Admiral Foote, in honor of the city.When the fleet was transferred from the war department to the navy, the name was changed to "Baron De Kalb," there being at that time a vessel commissioned in the navy called the St. Louis.In ten days
20after the "De Kalb," the "Carondelet" was launched, and the "Cincinnati," "Louisville," "Mound City," "Cairo" and "Pittsburgh" followed in rapid succession.
An eighth vessel, larger and more powerful, and superior in every respect, was also undertaken before the hulls of the first seven had fairly assumed shape.
It is to be regretted, however, that the promptness and energy of the man who thus created an iron navy on the Mississippi, was not met on the part of the government by an equal degree of faithfulness in performing its part of the contract.On one pretext after another, the stipulated payments were delayed by the War Department, until the default assumed such magnitude that nothing but the assistance rendered by patriotic and confiding friends enabled the contractor, after exhausting his own liberal means, to complete the fleet.Besides the honorable reputation which flows from success in such a work, he has the satisfaction of reflecting that it was with vessels, at the time his own property, that the brilliant capture of Port Henry was accomplished, and the conquest of Donelson and Island No. 10 achieved.
The ever-memorable midnight passage of Island No, 10, by the Pittsburgh and Carondelet, which compelled the surrender of that powerful stronghold, was performed by vessels furnished four or five months previously by the same contractor, and at the time unpaid for.
Without following in detail his labors in the construction of vessels during the war, it is enough to say that he created a navy, specially adapted for service in our western waters, and differing from anything that had before existed.Whatever its merits, it is sufficient that it accomplished its purpose, and that its builder is the man who made possible its brilliant achievements.
The bridge being done, Mr. Eads has brought forward for the consideration of the American people his plan for opening and deeping the mouth of the Mississippi River.Operations upon and beneath that stream have covered the period of his active life, and he has been an attentive observer of the phenomena which it has exhibited.His plan, which is that known as the "jetty system," is the one which commends itself to the people who are most vitally interested in this question.Mr. Eads shows his confidence in his own system, by proposing to make payment for his work contingent upon its successful operation.This is not the place for the elaboration or discussion of the questions involved; but it would seem, that if the people of the Mississippi Valley are not to be cheated of their wish, the careful deductions of a useful life will be given their coveted opportunity for demonstrating their correctness.
When the bridge project assumed form Mr. Eads became enlisted in its behalf, and naturally came to assume the position of chief engineer in its construction.His history and that of the great work under his charge are from that time blended together, and the steel arch which stretches its
21graceful web across the noblest stream that serves man's purpose,is a monument to his genius that even time will be compelled to respect.
COL. HENRY FLAD, chief assistant engineer of the corps under the direction of Mr. Eads, has found in this work a field in which he has more fully confirmed the high estimate of his abilities, and has had opportunities for the development of new and important devices in the surmounting of engineering difficulties.He was born July 3, 1824, in Baden, Germany, and was educated as a civil engineer at the University of Munich.At the completion of his studies he entered the employ of the Bavarian Government as a civil engineer, and was principally engaged upon the work of river improvements.The political troubles which culminated in the revolution of 1849 found him an active participant.Soon after he was a prisoner under sentence of death, but escaped and fled to America.Here he was for two years an engineer on the New York and Erie railroad; then resided in Buffalo, N. Y., for a time, and was afterwards engaged on the Ohio and Mississippi railroad.In 1854 he came to Missouri and was employed as an engineer on the Iron Mountain railroad up to the time of its completion, and then made some railroad surveys in Southeast Missouri.He came to St. Louis in 1861 and soon entered the Federal army, remaining till the fall of 1864, having passed through all the grades, except lieutenant, and acquired the position of Colonel of the First Missouri regiment of engineers.After leaving the army he engaged as chief assistant of Mr. Kirkwood, then the engineer-in-chief of the plans for the new waterworks of St. Louis.
In 1867 he was appointed one of the board of Water Commissioners for the city, and has retained that position up to the present time.Since 1867 he has been connected with the bridge as chief assistant engineer. One of his engineering feats, remarkable for its originality and the simplicity of the means employed, was his plan for the erection of the super-structure without the intervention of "false works."Heretofore, false works for sustaining the arch until its completion, had been considered indispensable in the erection of all arches, but he perfected a plan for sustaining the arches by chains as they were built out from the piers. The chains passed over towers built upon the piers, each tower being supported upon two immense hydraulic jacks.A nicely balanced attachment, served to show with great delicacy the amount of strain on the hog chains.This very important invention belongs to Col. Flad and is the subject of a patent which he applied for and obtained.The Keystone Bridge Company used the device in completing their contract upon the St. Louis bridge, with such success that it is now regarded as one of the most valuable of the improvements which modern engineering has introduced in the art of bridge building.
GERARD B. ALLEN, president of the bridge company, is a native of Ireland, being born in the city of Cork, November 6th, 1813.His father, Thomas Allen, was a respectable silk weaver of that city, and young Allen, believing that in America labor would be better rewarded than in his native country, resolved to emigrate, and started for the city of New York in 1836.
Previous to leaving Ireland, young Gerard B. Allen had learned the carpenter and turner business, and on his arrival in New York, followed those pursuits for more than a year, and then came to St. Louis in 1837. Here he worked journeywork until 1841, when he entered upon business himself, and, in turning and manufacturing bedsteads, he added considerably to his worldly wealth, and extended his business relations.In 1845, he had widely extended his operations, and owned two saw-mills, one in St. Louis and the other on, Gasconade River.
Believing that the working of iron afforded a vast field of enterprise and wealth in St. Louis, in 1847 he connected himself in the foundry business, and became a member of the well-known firm of Gaty, McCune & Co., with whom he remained until 1855.Two years after he had lost his amiable wife, who was Miss Frances Adams, of New York, he commenced, on his own account, his business at the Fulton Iron Works.
Mr. Allen is well known to the citizens of St. Louis as a sterling business man, and the uprightness of his character has won the confidence of the community.He is widely connected with positions of trust, and is president of the Covenant Life Insurance Company, is a director in the Hope Fire Marine Insurance Company, and also in the Bank of the State of Missouri; he is also vice-president of the O'Fallen Polytechnic Institute, and of the North Missouri Railroad.
Every position of life which Mr. Allen fills and has filled, he has done it with satisfaction, and the eagerness with which he is sought after to hold important trusts, and to control important functions, shows the sterling value of his character in the community.
In 1871 be was called to the resposible position of President of the Union Merchants' Exchange, and on the death of his predecessor, Wm. M. McPherson, to the Presidency of the Bridge Company.He is one of our public-spirited and sagacious citizens whose unselfish labors in behalf of our city have been productive of the highest good.
Dr. Wm. Taussig, one of the Directors, and Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Bridge Company, has been actively and arduously engaged in every step that has marked the growth of this gigantic enterprise, bringing to the assistance of the corporation, and of his co-workers, a large capacity for business and a clear insight and tireless energy in following the multitudinous details inseparable from a work of such magnitude.
23He was born in the city of Prague, Austria, February 28th, 1826.His father was a manufacturer of printed cotton, and run a mill engaged in that industry.Dr. Wm. Taussig graduated at the University of Prague, and afterwards studied medicine in the same institution of learning.After leaving the University, he engaged in the study of analytical chemistry, and in December, 1846, came to America and settled in St. Louis, in what is now the suburb of Carondelet.He then entered upon a successful practice of his profession of medicine, and was in 1852 elected mayor of Carondelet.From 1859 to 1865 he was a member of the County Court, and was for two years presiding justice of that body.A severe illness in 1862 forced him to relinguish the practice of medicine, but public affairs still claimed and received his earnest attention.
In March, 1865, he was appointed by President Lincoln United States Collector, but was removed by Mr. Johnson upon his accession to the presidential chair.He was then elected president of the Traders' Bank, of this city, which position he resigned in 1869, to give the Bridge Company the benefit of his undivided services.The Executive Committee of the Bridge Company at once elected him its chairman, and in that important position he has given his careful and unremitting attention to the details of the successive operations in the prosecution of that work, which now stands a crowning triumph of engineering skill, and of financial audacity.
JAMES H. BRITTON, the Treasurer of the bridge company, is one of the pioneers in the enterprise, who early grappled with the financial problem, when it presented itself for solution.He is now president of the National Bank of the State of Missouri — a man who has left the impress of his business qualities and administrative ability upon more than one of the institutions of our city and State, and has shown aptitude and clearness in the conduct of both private and public affairs, not usually found among men.He was born in Virginia, July 11, 1821, in what was then Shenandoah, now Page county.Here in a scene of great natural fertility, and striking grandeur, but with limited educational advantages, his youth was spent.At the age of thirteen he entered a store in Sperryville, Va., a town marking the entrance to one of the gaps of the Blue Ridge mountains, and the trade center of a rich and prosperous region.After four years spent in Sperryville, at the moderate salary of seventy-five dollars per annum, he was entrusted with the management of a store at Thompsonville, Va.Two years afterward, his counsellor, friend and benefactor, George Ficklen, in whose employ he then was, and to whom he now feels himself indebted for the greater part of the success and usefulness that have attended his life, gave him an interest in the business, which, partnership continued for two years.During this time he was married, and began to make arrangements to come West,
In 1840 he came to Missouri, settled in Troy, Lincoln county, and with a capital of fifteen hundred dollars opened a small store in that place. From that modest beginning he built up a good and lucrative business, which he steadily pursued for seventeen years.In 1857 he came to St. Tjouis, and occupied the position of cashier in the Southern Bank, and, at its reorganization under the national banking law, in 1864 was made its president.He only retired from that position to accept the presidency of the old and powerful institution over which he now presides.
His long business experience has been diversified, though not interrupted, by officials preferment of varied character.In 1848, he was Secretary of the Missouri State Senate; in 1852, and again in 1854, he was elected to the Legislature, from his own, Lincoln county.He afterwards served during one session of the House, that of 1856-7, as chief clerk.For several years he was County Treasurer of Lincoln county, and Postmaster at Troy.After the death of John J. Roe, he was for two years President of the Life Association of America in this city.
Through all the varied responsibilities of life, he has acquitted himself with dignity, fidelity and honor, and won the approbation and esteem of opponents as well as friends.As a banker, he is an exponent of the true principles that should control the power of the purse, to bring about the highest commercial good.As the financial officer of the bridge company he has not been found wanting in any of the elements that could contribute to its present unrivalled success.
JAMES ANDREWS, the contractor for the stone work on the bridge, subsequently the contractor for the excavation stone work and brick work of the tunnel, was born in Scotland, 1833, and early served an apprenticeship to the trade of stonemason.His experience on great works has been extensive and varied.Before he was twenty-one years of age he commenced taking contracts on his own account.He built the first bridge across the Ohio river, at Steubenville, and the railroad bridge across the Mononghahela river at Pittsburgh.The tunnels on the Pennsylvania Railroad, and on numerous other railroads have been in great part under his supervision.The Bridge Company was fortunate in bringing to one of the important branches of its construction a man of the experience and energy which Mr. Andrews has so signally displayed.