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Rails across the Mississippi: A HISTORY OF THE ST. LOUIS BRIDGE Paperback – December 29, 2006


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press (December 29, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0252074092
  • ISBN-13: 978-0252074097
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.7 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,128,959 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"[The Eads Bridge ] has long been recognized as one of the outstanding civil engineering accomplishments of 19th-century America...Jackson portrays Eads as an eccentric engineer with a dominating personality who was concerned more with building a unique and enduring monument than with keeping costs down and insuring timely completion and profitability. The research is thorough, the writing excellent." Choice

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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Paul Eckler on January 26, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In the steamboat era, St. Louis, Gateway to the West, was the fourth largest city in the US, while Chicago was little more than a crossroads. If one were to write a history, the first chapter would be the story of the railroad system built by the State of Missouri. It included a network of roads--Missouri Pacific, Frisco, Iron Mountain, and North Missouri (Wabash)-designed to fan out across the state bringing all traffic to St. Louis. Stock was sold to land owners and county governments, who hoped railroads would increase the value of land-locked land. Bonds were guaranteed by the state.
But Chicago interests, unencumbered by threats of Civil War, won the competition. Backed by Boston financiers, they completed the Hannibal and St. Joseph (CB&Q) across the state before completion of any of the state railroads. Along the way, 43 were killed on the inaugural run of the Missouri Pacific when a bridge over the Gasconade River collapsed. Those killed included some of the most progressive boosters in the state. The state railroads went bankrupt. The state assumed their debts. Missourians paid twice for their railroads. Costs that were scandalous in construction of the Transcontinental Railroad through mountainous terrain, were paid quietly by Missourians for railroads built through their rolling hills.
In the second chapter, Missouri interests hoped that Kansas City or St. Joseph would be selected as the Eastern terminus of the Transcontinental Railroad. Possibly a Southwestern route would be built from Kansas City that would avoid the difficulties of keeping a railroad passable through the mountains in Winter. Again Chicago interests won. Omaha was selected (and railroad building across Iowa took off with vigor).
Jackson's volume describes the third chapter.
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By Ralph Moulton on January 10, 2014
Format: Paperback
Reading this book will give you a good idea of the life and times of James Eads, the business and political side of major building projects before, during, and especially after the Civil War, and the engineering inventiveness that went into building the Eads bridge. This is a true history, well researched and documented, but still very readable. Robert Jackson is a good storyteller; While I was reading this book I kept telling my wife that it would make a good movie. Andrew Carnegie, Abraham Lincoln, and Octave Chanute are just a few of the names woven into this tale. Rags to riches, ironclad gunboats, westward expansion, and the building of business empires, just a few of its subplots. A good read for American history buffs, especially those with links to St. Louis.
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By T. J. on August 11, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Of course it helps to know that this book is about the design and construction of the Eads Bridge across the Mississippi at St. Louis Mo. It is a very interesting book as not many were written about it.This title speaks of rails, and yes on the lower level of the bridge trains crossed the river,then going through a tunnel over 4000 feet long to get to the Union station. On the top deck, there was sidewalks for people,rails for streetcars,and roadways for cars. So this is really quite the book. And am sure you will enjoy it. I grew up 15 miles east of the bridge,have used it in a car,on the bus,on a passenger train, and my grandfather drove a streetcar across regularly. So theres my credentials..
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Joan Quick on March 25, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
We had the first history of St Louis Bridge and wanted the second one to complete our library. Thanks so much.
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Rails across the Mississippi: A HISTORY OF THE ST. LOUIS BRIDGE
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