Ralph Modjeski (1861-1940) - Philadelphia, PA
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member Math Teacher
N 39° 57.293 W 075° 08.975
18S E 487223 N 4422760
Quick Description: This historic marker is located a few feet south to the entrance of Franklin Square Park, at theNW corner of 6th & Race Sts. Ralph Modjeski was a Polish-born American engineer who achieved prominence in the United States.
Location: Pennsylvania, United States
Date Posted: 7/24/2008 11:52:19 AM
Waymark Code: WM495Y
Published By: Groundspeak Charter Member The Leprechauns
Views: 57

Long Description:
He was born in the then Austrian city of Salzberg on January 27, 1861 to Gustav Sinnmayer Modrzejewski and actress Helena Opid Modrzejewska (best-known as "Helena Modjeska"). His father died in 1865 and in 1868 his mother married Count Bozenty Chlapowski. Together they emigrated to America in July 1876, where his mother changed her name to Helena Modjeska and her son's name to Ralph Modjeski. The son returned to Europe to study at l'Ecole des Ponts et Chaussees in Paris, France, where he graduated in 1885 at the top of his class. He married the same year, to Felicie Benda (the couple had three children). He later married Virginia Mary Giblyn.

Modjeski returned to America to begin his career, working on projects in several states. In 1895 he opened his own office. His first project as a chief engineer was the railroad bridge across the Mississippi River at Rock Island, Illinois. During his career he served as chief or consulting engineer on dozens of bridges around the country.

He took over the mis-designed Quebec Bridge after the 1907 disaster that killed 75 workers, and succeeded in creating the longest truss span in the world (though a construction accident killed another ten workers). It is still the longest cantilever bridge in the world.

He died June 26, 1940 in Los Angeles, California. He was considered "America's greatest bridge builder" and received many awards and honorary degrees. Notable among them is the John Fritz Medal in 1930.

Source --> (visit link)

Marker Text:
"Polish immigrant and civil engineer, Modjeski was one of the most influential figures in American bridge building. He completed theQuebec Bridge on the St. Lawrence River and over 40 others, earning numerous awards. He was chief engineer and designer for the Benjamin Franklin Bridge here, opened in 1926."

This is the PHMC website where I found the information on this new marker --> (visit link)
Marker Name: RALPH MODJESKI (1861-1940)

County: Philadelphia

Date Dedicated: 09/15/2007

Marker Type: City

Location: NW corner of 6th & Race Sts., Philadelphia

Category: Bridges, Business & Industry, Ethnic & Immigration, Professions & Vocations

Website: [Web Link]

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