Piece of Mississippi bedrock from beneath the east pier of the St. Louis (Eads) Bridge, St. Louis, Missouri

Piece of Mississippi bedrock from beneath the east pier of the St. Louis (Eads) Bridge, St. Louis, Missouri

Usage conditions apply
This stone is a memorial of one of the great engineering achievements of the 19th century—the construction of a bridge spanning the Mississippi River at St. Louis. Also known as the Eads Bridge in tribute to its chief engineer, James B. Eads, it provided a vital link between Illinois and the eastern states and St. Louis and the west.
Eads sank his bridge piers to bedrock at a time when others thought that sand would be sufficient. From barges with cranes, masons laid stone on the framework of a caisson, pushing it into the sandy riverbed. The caisson of the east pier reached bedrock, “127 ½ ft. below high water mark and 80 ft. under sand,” in January 1871. Eads is believed to have sent this souvenir cut from bedrock to a bridge investor, former Assistant Secretary of the Navy Gustavus Vasa Fox.
Gift of the heirs of Mrs. Virginia L. W. Fox, 1911
Object Name
date made
associated person
Fox, Gustavus
Physical Description
stone (overall material)
overall: 2 3/4 in x 1 1/2 in x 3/4 in; 6.985 cm x 3.81 cm x 1.905 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Virginia L. W. Fox
See more items in
Political and Military History: Political History, General History Collection
Government, Politics, and Reform
Souvenir Nation
Data Source
National Museum of American History
Nominate this object for photography.   

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.


Add a comment about this object