St. Louis Bridge
Democrat Lithography and Printing Company
The Bridge at St. Louis
Color lithograph, 1874
Prints & Photographs Division
Copyright deposits, 1874 (133.5)
James Buchanan Eads (1820-1887) used cantilever supports and a
new alloy steel to create the longest span arches of any bridge
up until that time. The massive structure linked east and west over
the turbulent river at St. Louis. In 1879, five years after its
completion, Walt Whitman wrote: "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." The vignettes that surround the panoramic
view of the bridge provide details of the progress of its innovative
construction and a portrait of Eads.