12 May 2008

Cincinnati History Moment: Roebling Bridge

From Luke Feck's Yesterday's Cincinnati:

There was a distinct threat once when twelve thousand Confederate troops led by Edmund Kirby Smith marched toward Cincinnati in an attempted invasion of the North. September 2, 1862, saw Cincinnati under martial law imposed by Union General Lew Wallace (who later wrote Ben Hur)....

The quick crossing of the Ohio by Wallace's men provided the impetus for one of the most important events in all Cincinnati's history-- the building of the Suspension Bridge.

...By September 1865 the bridge towers were completed. On October 4, two cables and a footbridge were completed. Each cable was 12-1/2 inches in diameter and weighed a million pounds. On the second day the bridge was open (December 2, 1866), 120,000 people walked across the Ohio River.

...Roebling went on to build the Brooklyn Bridge, but his bridge across the Ohio was a classic and an important link in Cincinnati's history. During the 1937 flood of Cincinnati, it was the only bridge open across the Ohio from Cairo, Illinois to Steubenville, Ohio-- some six hundred miles.


5chw4r7z said...

Everyone always assumes it was John who built the Cincinnati and Brooklyn bridges. He designed both of them but Washington Roebling built the Cincinnati bridge and John only saw it years later. John actually started the Brooklyn bridge but was killed early on in construction and Washington Roebling built the majority of it also.

WestEnder said...

Yes, that is technically true (and to be fair, the book does mention Washington's role but I was editing for space).

John probably gets the bulk of the credit because his design and engineering ideas were so innovative and ahead of the time.

Too bad he isn't around now to supervise the Brent Spence rehab...