Waco’s Historic Suspension Bridge was the longest single-span suspension bridge west of the Mississippi when it was completed in 1870. In 1868 a banking firm called Flint & Chamberlain decided to retain the renowned New York firm of John A. Roebling Co. This was the firm that had originated the suspension span bridge concept, and later oversaw the building of the Brooklyn Bridge. Col. John T. Flint, an Austin lawyer and banker, who had moved to Waco after the war and established Flint & Chamberlain, went personally to New York to handle the deal. In October 1868, Chief Engineer, Thomas M. Griffith supervised the construction using cables from the Roebling company. The twin double-towers that anchor the span were considered to be a marvel of engineering at the time, containing nearly 3 million bricks, which were produced locally. The bridge collected its first toll on January 1, 1870. Its 475-foot (145 m) span made it the first major suspension bridge in Texas. At one time this bridge was the longest single-span suspension bridge in the world at 475 feet, and the first suspension bridge over the Brazos River. Crucial to traders and travelers for well over a century, the bridge stands as an icon of Waco history and is the centerpiece of many community festivals and events including the 4th on the Brazos celebration and Brazos Nights concerts.
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