Most great monuments of nineteenth-century American engineering, such as the Brooklyn Bridge, dominate the surrounding landscape. By contrast, the Hoosac Tunnel, dug through a mountain in western Massachusetts, is inconspicuous, as tunnels naturally are. Yet it stands in the front rank of the projects of its age by whatever standards of measurement one chooses. On the one hand, its construction, which began in 1851 and ended in 1875, took almost two hundred lives, damaged many reputations, and nearly claimed the solvency of the commonwealth of Massachusetts.
In 1894, Catawba County, North Carolina commissioners asked local landowners to build and maintain an 85-foot-long bridge across Lyles Creek. The community hired Andy L. Ramsour, who served as keeper of the Horseford covered bridge over the Catawba River in Hickory, North Carolina.