Politics, c. 1840's


A bridge as large as the Suspension Bridge was a new concept in the era when the bridge was built, and political powers-that-were in the Ohio State Legislature had some curious ideas and priorities. 

The Cincinnati folks were scared.  The bridge piers would dam up the river and the public landing would be permanently flooded. The bridge would carry all the Cincinnati business to Kentucky,  commercial enterprises would move across the river, and property values would plummet.  Steamboats wouldn't be able to pass under it.  It would cause slaves an easier way to escape. One Ohioan even argued that, since Kentucky approved the charter before Ohio, that Ohio would be ceding sovereignty to Kentucky by passing it. Cincinnati would become a deserted city. In short, the usual human hysterics when change is involved.

But saner minds prevailed.  Almost.

The Ohio charter was passed, with two notable caveats.

1.  One of Roebling's original bridge plans called for a single large pier in the middle of the river.  The Ohio charter required no piers in the water.

2.  On March 26/28, 1850, the charter was amended to require that the bridge not line up with any existing street in Cincinnati, even though in 1815 Covington city fathers had had the foresight to line up their streets exactly with Cincinnati's. Roebling, and later, even some of the folks who passed the amendment,  saw the amendment as shortsighted: Ohio passed on the opportunity to have one, long, uninterrupted street across two states, with two magnificent arches in its center.

Given a chance to redeem themselves, Cincinnatians built the new Freedom Center with an arch that lines up with the bridge. So to screw it up this time, they built a big concrete thing to obstruct the view.