James Buchanan Eads is Born: May 23, 1820

James Buchanan Eads was born on this date in 1820. The famous St. Louisan was responsible for constructing the Eads Bridge, pioneering the use of the diving bell, and building ironclads for the use of the US Navy during the Civil War.

The Eads Bridge in 1875

A Worker on the Eads Bridge Dies of The Bends: March 19, 1870

James Moran, born in Ireland, became one of the first documented people in history to die of decompression sickness, or the bends on this date in 1870.

Frozen Mississippi River at St. Louis, Eads Bridge, historical

Arctic Temperatures Bring Hard Times to St. Louis: February 1, 1899

Extreme cold temperatures were gripping St. Louis on this date in 1899, so much so that a report in the Kansas City Journal claimed five St. Louisans had succumbed to the cold the day before. It was reported that temperatures hadn’t gone higher than 1 degree Fahrenheit.

May 23, 1874

The Eads Bridge across the Mississippi was opened for pedestrians. This privately funded bridge cost five cents to cross or, for ten cents, you could stay and "promenade in the cool river breezes."

June 14, 1874

A big crowd of onlookers cheered as a "test elephant" was led across Eads Bridge. People believed that elephants could somehow sense whether or not a structure could support its weight. Eventually Eads ran 14 locomotives back and forth across the bridge while inspectors looked for signs of stress.