THIS MASSIVE BRIDGE started from a kite string

Niagara bridge 1Nearly 170 years ago, the mighty Niagara Falls, previously known only to the local Native Americans, was becoming the new tourism Mecca, but the only way to cross the imposing gorge was to go upstream and take a turbulent ride in a small ferry. A bridge spanning the gorge was envisioned to provide a highway over the gorge and allow commerce and people to pass more freely between Canada and the United States.

The Niagara Falls Suspension Bridge Company in Canada, and the International Bridge Company in USA were given the charter to build a bridge but leading engineers of Europe and North America quickly advised it could not be done.

Charles Ellet, Jr. was hired to construct the bridge. The building of a suspension bridge is commenced with stretching a line or wire across the stream. However, the turbulent roaring rapids, the 800-foot wide gap, and the 225-foot high sheer cliffs of the Whirlpool Gorge made a direct crossing impossible. Ellet and his colleagues held a dinner meeting at the Eagle Hotel in the Village of Niagara Falls, to brainstorm the problem. Ellet proposed the use of a rocket. A bombshell hurled by a cannon was also suggested. Local ironworker, Theodore G. Hulett suggested offering a cash prize to the first boy who could fly his kite to the opposite bank.

Ultimately the bridge engineer chose the idea inspired by Benjamin Franklin’s experiment with a kite. Organizing a kite-flying contest, he offered $5 to any boy who flew a kite across the gorge and secured the kite string to the other side. Youths from nearby towns flocked in to participate. 16-year-old Homan Walsh finally got his kite across the gorge and secured its line to a tree.

Using the kite line across the 800-foot chasm, Charles Ellet and his team tied a heavier line to the kite string and pulled the joined lines across. They pulled successive heavier and stronger lines across until the final bridge cable—7⁄8 inch thick—was hanging across the gorge.

He built a temporary suspension bridge as the first part of his plan. On January 31, 1848 the Buffalo Dailey Courier published this account; “We have this day joined the United States and Canada with a cord, and are making preparations to extend a foot bridge across by the first of June” 

Not long after, Ellet left the project after a bitter financial dispute with the bridge companies. A three-year hiatus followed before the companies hired John Augustus Roebling to complete the project. Roebling used Ellet’s bridge as scaffolding to build the double-decked bridge. By 1854 his bridge was nearly complete, and the lower deck was opened for pedestrian and carriage travel. On March 18 1855, a fully laden passenger train drove across the upper deck at 5 miles per hour and officially opened the completed bridge.

growThis massive structure started with a kite string.
This reminds me of something Jesus said:
Matthew 17:20 NKJV
If you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.

and Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 1:27 NKJV
God has chosen the FOOLISH things of the world to put to shame the WISE,
and God has chosen the WEAK things of the world
to put to shame the things which are MIGHTY.

As I consider a suspension bridge built across a huge, deep chasm and consider that it started with a light, weak thread, I am reminded again of the fact that faith in the promises of God will see HIM at work, and of the knowledge that HE can and will work in and through this weak child of His to continue HIS work here today. We are given many opportunities to speak of our faith and of the work of the Lord in our lives. May we always be ready to be that first light thread to cross the chasm of unbelief and bring hope, peace and joy to someone in need.

exclamationexclamation2 Timothy 4:2 (Amplified Bible)
Herald and preach the Word!
Keep your sense of urgency.
Be ready,
whether the opportunity seems to be
favourable or unfavourable;
convenient or inconvenient;
welcome or unwelcome.
You, as preacher of the Word
are to show people in what way their lives are wrong
and convince them,
rebuking and correcting,
warning and encouraging them,
being unflagging and inexhaustible in patience and teaching.

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About meetingintheclouds

I am Cloudwatcher, a 76 year old Christian lady, happily married to a wonderful man for over 50 years. We have five wonderful sons, all with at least one University degree and in top positions in their chosen fields. One son is still single but four have found perfect wives and they have given us five lovely grandchildren. I was born in England and while I'm proud of my English heritage, I am doubly proud to be a true-blue, fair-dinkum Aussie. My husband and I are committed Christians whose first priority is to love and serve our risen Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. My life story will tell of my journey from abuse to peace. I suffered 22 years of abuse, being constantly told I was totally evil and an ugly freak: no one would ever want me, so I might as well do the world a favour and kill myself.
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24 Responses to THIS MASSIVE BRIDGE started from a kite string

  1. Pingback: Faith Like a Kite – 2022 « Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship BLCF Church

  2. Pingback: Faith like a Kite « Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship BLCF Church

  3. Pingback: Faith like a Kite « Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship

  4. πίστις says:

    Great story Angela with an even greater message. God bless you friend.


  5. Pingback: Bridging the gap | Sue's Trifles

  6. Streim says:

    Sweet sister Angela… once again you have captured in a post the MOST important Biblical truths we “need” to live by in these days, “Stand up for Jesus, ye soldiers of the Cross.” Far too often I am given a moment to share the precious gift of salvation with others and fall short.
    I pray for all of us as blood bought adopted children of Almighty God…that we use each moment the Lord prepares for us to speak the truth of salvation through Jesus Christ, to the glory of God!
    Thank you sister–Praying for blessings


  7. Gloria says:

    “May we always be ready to be that first light thread to cross the chasm of unbelief and bring hope, peace and joy to someone in need.” powerful!!!


    • Thanks Gloria. What a humbling joy and privilege it is when HE chooses to use us in that way. We are nothing. We are powerless, but He chooses to use us for His own purpose. May we always be that available vessel to Him!


  8. Rob Barkman says:

    May we all come to an understanding of the importance of our verbal and lifestyle testimony in the eyes of others. May the Lord apply these truths to our hearts to better motivate us to live our lives to show Christ to all who are around us!

    Thanks again Angela.


  9. This is a fascinating story. I have never stopped to think about how that bridge was built. It is just there! Thank you for looking deeper and your encouraging posts. Sue


  10. Pure Glory says:

    A child will lead them. Kites and fun to bridging the gap with a large bridge. We need each other to completely bridge the huge distance between us. Love the story! Thank you.


  11. Debbie says:

    You find the best stories to help us understand His Word. Thank you, Mentor Angela and God bless!


  12. Larus Press says:

    Wonderful analogy – joining faith with science and history, bridging between unbelievers and believers. God bless.


    • Thanks for adding your valued comments, especially the ‘bridging between unbelievers and believers’. Indeed, that is our calling, reflecting the love, mercy and grace of the indwelling Christ to all we meet, and sharing with them the good news of the Gospel.


  13. And this why we must not despise small beginnings. God often begins with a “mustard seed” to make a mountain.


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