Alumni Hall of Fame

Leffert L. Buck
Leffert L. Buck
Inducted October 1999

Leffert L. Buck

Class of 1868
Bridge Builder
1837-1909

An outstanding bridge engineer and restorer of bridges, Leffert Buck designed and built the Williamsburg Bridge across the East River in New York City in 1903, the longest bridge in the world at the time. Connecting Manhattan’s Lower East Side to Brooklyn, it is distinguished for its vast reach and massive symmetry.

In the early 1870s, he erected the Verrugas Viaduct on the Oroya Railroad in Peru, a remarkable bridge, at its time the highest in the world.

He is remembered primarily for his achievements in New York City and at Niagara Falls, where he repaired significant structures and erected a spandrel-braced arch, all without interrupting traffic.

As one of the great bridge builders of his time, Buck helped to enhance the reputation of Rensselaer, as he drew constantly upon its graduates for aid in design, manufacture, and supervision.