Thursday, June 20, 2013

Leap of Faith

Eads Bridge in St. Louis
Eads Bridge in St. Louis. Image by Darkshark0159
Prior to 1874, the railroads west ended in St. Louis. To go further, you needed to cross the Mississippi on a ferry boat. Bridging the river was an extreme technical challenge because of the width of the river and the requirement to allow steamboat traffic to travel under the bridge.

Andrew Carnegie, whose Keystone Bridge Company had been subcontracted to build the bridge, decide to do something daring. The Eads bridge would be built of steel. When it opened in 1874, it was the longest arch bridge in the world and the first large bridge made from steel.

The bridge opened up the west to rail tavel. It also proved the value of structural steel which was soon used in the construction of bridges and buildings across the United States. The Carnegie Steel Company dominated the industry.

Carnegie took the leap of faith to build the bridge from steel.  The confidence to take on enormous challenges is a common characteristic of great leaders.

Are you ready to jump?

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