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.
New York and Brooklyn.
“data-full-height =” 1581 “data-full-src =” https://www.history.com/.image/c_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cfl_progressive%2Ch_2000%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_2000/MTcyNzEyMDQzMjEwNjEbrook.jpg “data-full-width =” 2000 “data-image-id =” ci026598b1800126ba “data-image-slug =” Brooklyn-Bridge-GettyImages-2698744 “data-public-id =” MTcyNzEyMDQzMjEwNjE0NDU4 “data- source-name =” Hulton Archive / Getty Images “/> called caissons, face down in the East River.
“data-full-height =” 2000 “data-full-src =” https://www.history.com/.image/c_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cfl_progressive%2Ch_2000%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_2000/MTcyNzEyMDQzMjEQNzQ1NlynQ1n55 “data-full-width =” 1600 “data-image-id =” ci026598b2a000272f “data-image-slug =” Brooklyn-Bridge-GettyImages-514895590 “data-public-id =” MTcyNzEyMDQzMjEwNzQ1NjQ3 “data- source-name =” Bettmann Archive / Getty Images “/>
“data-full-height =” 1360 “data-full-src =” https://www.history.com/.image/c_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cfl_progressive%2Ch_2000%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_2000/MTcyNzEyMDQzMjEwNjc27etty.jpg “data-full-width =” 2000 “data-image-id =” ci026598b1a000272f “data-image-slug =” Brooklyn-Bridge-GettyImages-3168727 “data-public-id =” MTcyNzEyMDQzMjEwNjc5OTk0 “data- source-name =” New York City Museum / Talfor / Holmes / Pach / Getty Images “/> A group of men stood on a gangway where a sign reads, “Safe for only 25 men at a time. Do not walk close to one another and do not run, jump or trot. Break the stage! ” & Nbsp; At least 20 people died during the construction of the bridge.
“data-full-height =” 1351 “data-full-src =” https://www.history.com/.image/c_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cfl_progressive%2Ch_2000%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_2000/MTcyNzEyMDQzMjEwCjElynetty.jpg “data-full-width =” 2000 “data-image-id =” ci026598b1800026ba “data-image-slug =” Brooklyn-Bridge-GettyImages-3168705 “data-public-id =” MTcyNzEyMDQzMjEwNjE0NTc1 “data- source-name =” New York City Museum / Getty Images “/> Workers cutting and tying tension cables, around 1882. & nbsp; Each of the bridge’s four main cables is made up of 19 separate strands, each with 278 separate wires.
“data-full-height =” 2000 “data-full-src =” https://www.history.com/.image/c_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cfl_progressive%2Ch_2000%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_2000/MTcyNzEyMDQzMjEwODExMT39 “data-full-width =” 1554 “data-image-id =” ci026598b2c00126ba “data-image-slug =” Brooklyn-Bridge-GettyImages-515383968 “data-public-id =” MTcyNzEyMDQzMjEwODExMTgz “data- source-name =” Bettmann Archive / Getty Images “/> The Brooklyn Bridge opened on May 24, 1883. & nbsp;
Men and women walk on the Brooklyn Bridge Boardwalk around 1898. & nbsp; seven days after his grand unveiling, people crowded on deck Memorial day& nbsp; take a walk on its elevated promenade.
“data-full-height =” 1389 “data-full-src =” https://www.history.com/.image/c_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cfl_progressive%2Ch_2000%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_2000/MTcyNzEyMTE2MjI1MTI0MDI01646 “data-full-width =” 2000 “data-image-id =” ci026598c1c000272f “data-image-slug =” Brooklyn-Bridge-GettyImages-640461755 “data-public-id =” MTcyNzEyMTE2MjI1MTI0MDI2 “data- source-name =” George P. Hall / Library of Congress / Corbis / VCG / Getty Images “/>
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.
Just before construction began in 1869, Roebling was fatally injured while doing some final compass readings on the other side of the East River. A boat crushed his toes on one of his feet and three weeks later he died of tetanus. He was the first of twenty people to die while building his bridge. Her 32-year-old son Washington A. Roebling took up his duties as chief engineer. Roebling had worked with his father on several bridges and helped design the Brooklyn Bridge.
The two granite foundations of the Brooklyn Bridge were built in wooden caissons, or watertight chambers, cast at depths of 44 feet on the Brooklyn side and 78 feet on the New York side. Compressed air pressurized the caissons, allowing underwater construction. At that time, the risks of working in such conditions were little known and more than a hundred workers suffered from cases of compression sickness. Compression sickness, or “bends,” is caused by the appearance of nitrogen bubbles in the bloodstream that result from rapid decompression. Several died and Washington Roebling himself became bedridden in 1872. Other workers died as a result of more conventional construction accidents, such as collapses and a fire.
READ MORE: The construction of the Brooklyn Bridge took 14 years and several lives
Roebling continued to direct construction operations from his home, and his wife, Emily, briefed the workers. In 1877 Washington and Emily moved into a house with a view of the bridge. Roebling’s health gradually improved, but he remained partially paralyzed for the rest of his life. On May 24, 1883, Emily Roebling had her first lap on the deck complete, with a rooster, symbol of victory, on her lap. In 24 hours, approximately 250,000 people crossed the Brooklyn Bridge on a wide walk above the roadway that John Roebling designed solely for the enjoyment of pedestrians.
The Brooklyn Bridge, with its unprecedented length and two majestic towers, has been dubbed the “eighth wonder of the world”. The connection he established between the massive population centers of Brooklyn and Manhattan forever changed the course of New York. In 1898, the city of Brooklyn officially merged with the city of New York, Staten Island and a few agricultural cities, forming Greater New York.