The Great Bridge Characters & Character Analysis

David McCullough
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John Augustus Roebling

The immense, enigmatic, wealthy manufacturer of wire rope and builder of precedent-setting suspension bridges, Roebling is best known as Chief Engineer of the Brooklyn Bridge.

Born in 1806, in Germany, Roebling studies in Berlin and builds roads before immigrating to Butler County, PA, where he marries Johanna Herting. Tired of farming, Roebling develops a wire rope that is widely adopted in manufacturing. In 1844, Roebling builds an aqueduct across the Allegheny River, which proves he can build suspension structures. The Roeblings move to Trenton, NJ, in 1848, where he builds a great wire business. Johanna's death in 1864 devastates Roebling, then working on the Cincinnati Bridge, and he is tempted to give up engineering and merely talk with the dead. He is named Chief Engineer of the Brooklyn Bridge, however, by whom or on what criteria is unknown, when the New York Assembly charters the project in April of...

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This section contains 4,613 words
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