It was one of the largest structures of its type in the world for many years, and was the first important structure of its kind in the United States. It cost several human lives, but today it is known as the greatest monument to one of Missouri’s most outstanding citizens. It was built despite dozens of people saying it couldn’t be done and dozens of others who tried to see that it wouldn’t be done. It is still in use today – with no sign of being abandoned. The bridge was built by a hard-headed, audacious man who had never built a bridge before – let alone a massive thing that would cross the Mississippi River.