Ellet’s brainstorming sessions with his men raised several ideas that could enable a line to be suspended across the gorge; these included firing cannonballs with the line attached, towing it across the river with a steamer, and tying it to a rocket that would then be launched across the gorge. Ultimately the bridge engineer chose an idea inspired by Benjamin Franklin’s experiment with a kite. It was similar to 15th century inventor Leonardo da Vinci’s plan to span a gap. Ellet also took the opportunity to generate publicity for his project. Organizing a kite-flying contest, he offered $5[nb 6] to any boy who flew a kite across the gorge and secured the kite string to the other side. Youths from nearby towns flocked in to participate. Unlike the other boys who flew their kites from the United States side of the gorge, 16-year-old Homan Walsh[nb 7] crossed the river by a ferry upstream and walked to the Canadian side of the bridge site to launch his kite. He almost succeeded on his first attempt; his kite flew across but crashed just short of the shore. After resting several days at a friend’s house, Walsh finally got his kite across the gorge and secured its line to a tree.