Construction on the Eads Bridge began in 1869 and was completed on July 4, 1874 when General Sherman placed the final railroad spike. It's now the oldest standing bridge over the Mississippi River and is considered an engineering marvel as the first steel-truss construction. It transports cars and trains between Illinois and Missouri across the 0.8 mile width of the Mississippi River. James Eads was selected in 1867 as engineer-in-chief for the project. Houdini considered the iconic structure for one of his magical feats but no evidence has been found that he performed an escape there.
Robert Olson, Centre for Suicide Prevention
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Symbolic sites have been historically known as 'suicide magnets'. A major fallacy is that the end will be quick and painless but The Centre for Suicide Prevention reports that disfigurement with massive pain and extreme internal injuries accompany a jump from a bridge.
Judy (McDonnell) Holtzscher sent information on her Uncle Harvey McDonnell, an L&N Railroad employee at the East St. Louis freight house that tried to rescue a man that jumped from the Eads Bridge in 1910. The newspaper article below has surprising details. Some photos of the family are also displayed.
Constructing Eads Bridge
National Registry of Historic Places Inventory Form
4 Bridges Over Mississippi River, 1932
Mississippi River Frozen 1905
L&N Freight House was between the Eads Bridge and Big 4 Freight House, 1989
View Looking East Railbed Eads Bridge, 1983
Looking East Across Eads Bridge 2016
East St. Louis Eads Bridge Map 1905
Nowhere in the world is there a body of workmen superior in mental ability or character to a railway employee. They are uniquely American in character and tradition.
Henry Bruere, Railway Age Volume 76, 1924
Photo Courtesy of Judy Holtzscher
Good Samaritan and L&N Railroad Employee Harvey McDonnell Attempts Rescue
Witchita Daily Eagle, 16 Sep 1910, Article Courtesy of Judy Holtzscher
McDonnell Family Grocery Store with Judy (McDonnell) Holtzscher's dad and grandmother out front.
McDonnell Family, Thomas and Harvey
George and Judy (McDonnell) Holtzscher