Crossing Time The Wheeling Suspension Bridge: This documentary film celebrates the historic suspension bridge spanning the Ohio River at Wheeling, West Virginia. The bridge's construction was financed by the sale of public stock. When it was opened to traffic in 1849, it was the first bridge to cross the main channel of the great Ohio River. At the time, it was the longest span in the world at 1,010 feet. Its cutting-edge technology marked the beginning of American leadership in suspension-bridge design, which lasted until after World War II. The Wheeling bridge was the forerunner of larger, more famous bridges such as the Brooklyn Bridge and the Golden Gate. The bridge became part of the National Road and thus played an important role in the westward expansion of the United States, as well as the development of the city of Wheeling into a regional center of commerce, industry and transportation. The bridge collapsed due to high winds in 1854 and was rebuilt (in 40 days!) in 1860. Although the bridge has been renovated several times since then, it still has the original towers and main cables. It is the world's oldest existing suspension bridge.
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