Happy Birthday Hannibal!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY HANNIBAL BRIDGE (the bridge that made Kansas City, KANSAS CITY!)

July 3, 1869, Happy 149th Birthday to The Hannibal Bridge. It was the first railroad bridge over the Missouri River. In the 1860s many thought that it was impossible to bridge the 'turbulent and unstable' Missouri River.
That piece of infrastructure made KC the dominant city in the Missouri Valley. At the time, Leavenworth and St. Joseph were much larger cities. Leavenworth was three times as large as KC. 'Harper's Weekly' said Kansas City was a town 'not so well known in the east as Leavenworth, Omaha, St. Joseph.' THE BRIDGE FLIPPED THAT EQUATION. 

The bridge connected 7 railroads and opened the cattle trade to Chicago and the population back east. The bridge is why the stockyards and the packing plants located in Kansas City. AND the stockyards, with its availability of inexpensive cuts of meat, is one of the main reasons for KC being recognized as "The BBQ Capital of the World". Thank you Hannibal.
Here are a few tidbits about The Hannibal Bridge:
--Its real name is 'The Kansas City Bridge'. Its call The Hannibal because The Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad built it and provided most of the financing. An 1870 book was written on its construction. The Linda Hall Library has a copy that you can review. (The Library also has white gloves you must wear.)
--It was replaced with the 'New' Hannibal Bridge in 1917. Why?(better materials, better engineering techniques, flooding, a tornado). The new bridge had an upper deck for automobiles. That upper deck was removed when The Broadway Bridge (now The Buck O'Neil Bridge) was opened in 1956.
--The Hannibal Bridge had a pivot draw that, when it was opened, allowed boats and barges to pass by.
--Workers using levers could open the pivot draw in 2 minutes.
--The river always had the right of way. Trains had to stop.
--It took 2.5 years to build the bridge. It cost $1,000,000.00. It was 1384 feet long and 18 feet wide. It had 7 supporting piers. Trains could cross the river in 2 minutes.
--Divers, in deep-sea type protection were used to build the piers under the muddy river.
--An 1886 tornado ripped away a span of the bridge.
--Pedestrians could cross the bridge for a 5 cent toll. Horse drawn wagons cost 40 cents.
--A large city-wide celebration helped cut the ribbon on July 3, 1869. The party included a hot air balloon, a parade, a bbq and fireworks.