Brooklyn Bridge opens – HISTORY

After 14 years, the Brooklyn Bridge over the East River opens, connecting the major cities of New York and Brooklyn for the first time in history. Thousands of residents of Brooklyn and Manhattan Island attended the dedication ceremony, which was chaired by President Chester A. Arthur and New York Governor Grover Cleveland. Designed by the late John A. Roebling, the Brooklyn Bridge was the largest suspension bridge ever built to date.

READ MORE: 10 Things You Might Not Know About The Brooklyn Bridge

John Roebling, born in Germany in 1806, was a great pioneer in the design of steel suspension bridges. He studied industrial engineering in Berlin and at the age of 25 immigrated to western Pennsylvania, where he tried unsuccessfully to make a living as a farmer. He then moved to the state capital in Harrisburg, where he found work as a civil engineer. He encouraged the use of wire rope and created a successful wire rope factory.

During this time, he acquired a reputation as a designer of suspension bridges, which at the time were widely used but known to fail under strong winds or heavy loads. Roebling is credited with a major breakthrough in suspension bridge technology: a truss beam added to each side of the bridge pavement which has considerably stabilized the structure. Using this model, Roebling successfully crossed the Niagara Gorge in Niagara Falls, New York, and the Ohio River in Cincinnati, Ohio. Based on these accomplishments, New York State accepted Roebling’s design for a bridge connecting Brooklyn and Manhattan – with a span of 1,595 feet – and appointed him chief engineer. It was to be the first steel suspension bridge in the world.

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