While he's more famous around town for his bridge, James Buchanan Eads was also a noted builder of ironclad riverboats. In fact, Eads built seven ironclads for the United States Navy in 100 days — probably not on his own, because that would be nuts. All of them were constructed either in Carondelet or Mound City, Illinois, and then they served the Union during the Civil War. The USS Carondelet and the USS St. Louis (later rechristened the USS Baron De Kalb) both helped General Ulysses S. Grant take Fort Henry and Fort Donelson, feats that led to a mutual friendship and respect between the inventor and the general. Jerry Porter discusses the joint history of these two noted St. Louisans in a lecture entitled "James B. Eads, Ulysses S. Grant and the Ironclads" at 7:30 p.m. at the Missouri History Museum (Lindell Boulevard and DeBaliviere Avenue; 314-746-4599 or www.mohistory.org). Admission is free.
Tue., July 29, 2008