9. The Original Chief Engineer of the Project Was Fired

High Bridge

When trying to figure out the most efficient way to transport water from the Croton Aqueduct, there was debate about how to structure the bridge. Civil engineer, David Bates Douglass, was commissioned to take the lead on the aqueduct project, and he suggested a high bridge that would “lend to New York some of the imperial grandeur of imperial Rome.”

Others vouched for a lower bridge that would cover most of the river but would be cheaper by over $500,000. Douglass was later replaced as chief engineer by John B. Jervis. Though he, too, had the preference for a low bridge, the high bridge was ultimately built due to demand from the people of the city for a grand bridge.