Linda Hall Library of Science, Engineering, & Technology
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British Bridges
Missouri Bridges

Missouri Bridges

The Kansas City Bridge
The St. Louis Bridge
Building the Piers
Arches & Roadways
Keystone Bridge Co.

Centuries of Civil Engineering

Chanute, Octave (1832-1910) and George Morison (1842-1903)
The Kansas City Bridge, With an Account of the Regimen of the Missouri River, and a Description of Methods Used for Founding in That River.
New York: D. Van Nostrand, 1870.
Water Supply
Image Index


In 1869 Kansas City was still a small town, much less important than Leavenworth. The Kansas City Bridge (later called the Hannibal Bridge) changed that quite rapidly. Designed and erected by Octave Chanute, the bridge was the first across the Missouri River, and it made Kansas City into a railroad hub and a center for westward expansion. The bridge was constructed of wrought iron, sitting on limestone piers, with a swing section to allow shipping to pass through. It was replaced by a steel bridge in 1916.

The illustration of the completed bridge is from the book Chanute wrote on the project; this copy was presented by Chanute to the American Society of Civil Engineers. Chanute went on to become quite well-known, not only for his engineering feats, but for his work on manned flight.


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