Dubuque County Historical Society Images

The Builders

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John A. Roebling and Washington Roebling

John A. Roebling and Washington Roebling were not only father and son, respectively, they were also master bridge builders whose engineering marvels still exist today. John A. Roebling was the designer of the Brooklyn Bridge and is considered one of the greatest bridge builders of all times. He was a pioneer in the use of wire rope in bridge work.

Roebling began his career building suspension aquaducts for canals. By the mid-19th century, he was well established as the world's leading builder of suspension bridges. In the 1850's and 1860's, Roebling and his son, Washington - a brilliant engineer in his own right - built bridges across the Monongahela and Allegheny at Pittsburgh. They spanned the Niagara Falls and crossed the Ohio River at Cincinnati, the longest bridge in the world when completed in 1866.

Following John Roebling's death in 1869, Washington built the Brooklyn Bridge according to his father's designs. Hailed as a marvel of engineering, the "great bridge" opened in 1883 and remains a monument to the vision and engineering skills of the Roeblings.

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