The full name of this bridge is
The John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge. Roebling of course is the man who went
on to build the Brooklyn Bridge. Roebling , in August of 1856, signed a contract
for the project. Work was stopped when winter arrived, and then the panic of
1857 plus the start of the Civil War caused construction to be stopped. In
1863 work was spurred on by the need to erect a pontoon bridge to
transport Union troops defending Kentucky. On September 4, 1865, a footbridge
was completed so that workers could begin to string the cable.
On December 1, 1866, the Suspension Bridge Was opened to pedestrians, In the first two days more than 120,000 people paid the three cents toll to cross the bridge. On New Years Day 1867 the bridge was officially opened to vehicles. In 1896 a second set of cables were added along with a wider roadway, streetcar rails, and electric lights, this work effectively doubled its carrying capacity.
During the flood of 1937 this bridge was the only crossing along 800 miles of the Ohio River.
When opened the Suspension Bridge was the longest in the world, today it would rank as being the 100th longest.
Covington Kentucky's streets were built in a direct line with Cincinnati's streets but one of the restrictions on the Suspension Bridge was that the streets could not be directly linked to each other. This apparently was for legal issues that would arise if slaves were to use the bridge if escaping. The Ohio charter for the Suspension Bridge specifically forbade slaves from crossing the bridge without written or verbal permission from their owners. The bridge company would be held accountable in court to the owners for compensation should their slaves escape using the bridge.
In 1891 streetcars began using the bridge. This necessitated a major strengthening of the bridge starting in 1895 and ending in 1899.
Not a postcard
Rarely Seen 1800s Image
FIRST TOLL RATES
Foot passengers, one trip: 3 cents
100 trips on foot, (coupon tickets): 1 1/4 cents each
Horse & cart: 10 cents
Horse & carriage: 15 cents
2 horses & carriage: 20 cents
4 horses & carriage: 30 cents
6 horses & carriage: 40 cents
Horses, mules and cattle: 10 cents each
Hogs: 2 cents each
Sheep: 1 cent each
20th CENTURY RATES
Coupe 10 cents $1.88
Less than 1/2 Ton
& Passengers Cars 15 cents $2.82
1/2 to 7/8 Tons 20 cents $3.75
1 to 1 7/8 Tons 25 cents $4.69
2 to 2 7/8 Tons 30 cents $5.63
3 to 4 1/2 Tons 50 cents $9.38
5 to 9 1/2 Tons 75 cents $14.07
The toll booths were removed November 25, 1963, ( the same time the Brent Spence opened). It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on May 15, 1975.
Real photo shows flood stage, retouched does not.
7" x 9" Jumbo card
View from top
The next two rows show views of the Covington, Kentucky side of the Ohio River.
Very rare postcard view from the Licking River Very early private mailing card