In St Louis, a bridge I
have always been curious about is the world renowned
With its superstructure arches built underneath, the
Bridge looks like it was built upside down. While researching
this historical landmark I learned something about God's need for
For more than a century, the Eads Bridge has connected Missouri and
across the muddy waters of the Mississippi River. It was built by a
self-educated engineering genius from Indiana named James Buchanan
Eads. After the Civil War, Eads had already earned quite a
reputation by supervising the construction of eight ironclad steamers
in just 65 days, a feat thought impossible. In his remarkable life, he
invented the submerged sand pump to remove sand and silt from the
river, still in use today, and figured out a way to open the mouth of
the Mississippi so ships could travel to the ocean.
The Eads Bridge remains an engineering marvel. Commissioned shortly
the Civil War by desperate St. Louis businessmen who realized the only
to keep their city relevant to the development of the country was to
way to have the railroad come through their city. But how?
Considering that the Mississippi is the second largest river on the
and that several previous bridgebuilding attempts had failed, they
visionary who could redefine what a bridge was, and think outside the
They found their visionary dreamer in James Eads.
Engineers warned Eads that the undertaking was impossible because it had
never been done before. All who had tried previously had failed. His
remains a visionary classic: "Must we admit that, because a thing has
been done, it never can be, when our knowledge and judgment assures us
Eads assessed the failures of the past and actually made several dives
to the bottom the of the riverbed in a diving bell apparatus he quickly
invented, concluding that for a bridge to be built, it would have to be
sunk some 96 feet into the limestone bedrock of the city.
Using the European process of Pneumatic caissons, large watertight
for working under water, he designed and built the world's first super
bridge which is still in service today for trains, cars, and
pedestrians. When it was completed, he and his team had created the
world's first alloy steel bridge - the first to use tubular cord
members and cantilever construction.
Most bridges have their metal arch framework on top, but Eads' was
built beneath, giving rise to the notion it has been built upside down.
When it was completed, Eads hired several trains and one stomping
parade elephant to cross back and forth across his bridge to assure the
public that it was indeed really a bridge, and was in fact safe for
James Buchanan Eads was a Master Builder. During recent renovations to
bridge, modern day engineers were in awe of the workmanship they
stating that much of it was absolutely modern. Eads innovated
engineering concepts and metallurgy techniques, and is revered for being
more than a century ahead of his time.
So where are the Master Builders of the kingdom of God? Those who know
church must go deeper into the bedrock than ever before, those who
spy out the land, and conclude the impossible is entirely doable
completely rethink our strategy, those who know we must remain relevant
we are to impact our world yet we must remain true to our calling,
are not afraid to build what does not look like a traditional church
in fact a century ahead of its time? Where are those who dare to dream
God and then build according to the heavenly pattern? Where are God's
As the Apostle Paul said in 1Corinthans 3:10, "According to the grace
which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the
foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he
builds on it."
-The National Encyclopedia for the Home, School and Library, Vol. III.,
National Encyclopedia Company, Chicago, 1927. -Everybody's Cyclopedia,
Vol. IV., Syndicate Publishing Company, New York, 1912.
Copyright © 2004 Bryan Hupperts. Permission to distribute this
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