THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER STOOD AT THE CENTER, literally and figuratively, of the United States’s westward expansion during the nineteenth century. By far the most prominent name in taming the powerful river was James Buchanan Eads. From the 1830s through the 1850s this supremely capable engineer salvaged hundreds of wrecks with a series of ever-larger diving bells, gaining in the process an intimate knowledge of the river’s bottom.
Eads, James Buchanan
"Eads had to succeed in the face of conventional wisdom which doomed him to disaster. Entrenched authorities not only completely dismissed his theories, but pointed to the indifferent European experiences with what he proposed."
- ASCE Landmark Nomination Proposal, 1982