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Finding Sunlight

Eads Bridge


With Coal Barge

Charles Guggenheim, a documentary filmmaker, mounted a camera on the front of a train and ran it across the raildeck of the Eads Bridge in St. Louis. From the moment I saw it I knew I would go there some day. I did.
Charlie, the bridge tolltaker, opened the door to the raildeck. A train rushed past the door and onto the bridge. I jumped, but continued, worked all morning, and returned many times after trains had stopped using the bridge.
James B. Eads, who had never built a bridge, salvaged sunken steamboars and understood the river and what needed to be done. When he finished, he lead a parade of elephants across his bridge at a time when people belivered that elephants would never cross a structure they deemed unsafe.