The builder who first bridged Niagara’s gorge,
Before he swung his cable, shore to shore,
Sent out across the gulf his venturing kite
Bearing a slender cord for unseen hands
To grasp upon the further cliff and draw
A greater cord, and then a greater yet;
Till at the last across the chasm swung
The cable — then the mighty bridge in air!
So we may send our little timid thought
Across the void, out to God’s reaching hands —
Send out our love and faith to thread the deep—
Thought after thought until the little cord
Has greatened to a chain no chance can break,
And we are anchored to the Infinite!
Source: Markham, Edwin, The Shoes of Happiness, and Other Poems; the Third Book of Verse. Garden City, N.Y., Doubleday, Page & Co., 1915.
The Niagara Suspension Bridge was the first bridge to span the Niagara River, and was in service from 1848-1855. To get the initial cable across, a kite flying contest, pictured above, was held. Contestants used the prevailing westerly winds to fly the kites from the Canadian to the American site. 13 year old Homan Walsh won the contest. Progressively larger strings and cables were tied to the kite string and pulled across until cables could be anchored to either side and bridge construction could begin.