Growthology: The Hannibal Bridge As Google Fiber continues to expand to Kansas City metropolitan area cities, we might reflect on a different time period in Kansas City infrastructural history when the first railroad bridge to cross the Missouri River was constructed, the Hannibal Bridge:
The period of two year and a half, thus consumed in the location and construction of this bridge, had brought about great changes in its immediate vicinity. The population of Kansas City had increased from 13,000 to 30,000, and from being little more than a way-station on the Missouri Pacific Railroad, it had become an important railway center, from which no less than seven lines of railroad were in full operation, while several more were projected.
Though the bridge was originally built only for the use of the Kansas City and Cameron Railroad, seven months before its completion the west branch of the North Missouri Railroad had been finished to Harlem, and this company had made arrangements to run over the bridge, while the Missouri Valley Railroad had been extended from its former terminus opposite Leavenworth to the same point, so that the bridge became at once, not only a link in the line of railroads extending from Chicago to the South-west, but united the railway system of Northern and Southern Missouri and Kansas at a common point, near the boundary of the two States.…
The completion of the bridge united the three railroads on the north and east side of the river with the four on the south and west, made Kansas City the convenient point of exchange for all business going south-westerly, and gave it such commercial important as wellnigh to justify the boast of its sanguine citizens, that it was destined to become the metropolis of the South-west.
--Octave Chanute and George Morison, The Kansas City Bridge: With an Account of the Regimen of the Missouri River and a Description of the Methods Used for Founding in that River (New York: D. Van Nostrand, 1870), 15-16.