May 24, 2013
THE BROOKLYN BRIDGE OPENED 130 YEARS AGO TODAY
New York City (JFK+50) The Brooklyn Bridge, at the time the longest suspension bridge in the world, opened 130 years ago today, May 24, 1883.
The bridge, 1595.5 feet long, connects Brooklyn and Manhattan as it spans the East River in New York City.
The Brooklyn Bridge
New York City
Photo by User: Postdlf (2005)
The Brooklyn Bridge was dedicated by President Chester A. Arthur and New York Governor Grover Cleveland.
The dedication ceremony was also attended by Mayor Franklin Edson of New York City and Mayor Seth Low of Brooklyn.
The Brooklyn Bridge, which took 14 years to complete, was the brainchild of John A. Roebling* who died as a result of an injury during construction.
The architect's son, Washington Roebling**, took over for his father only to suffer compression sickness in the process of directing continued construction of the bridge.
At the opening ceremony, Roebling's wife, Emily, carried a rooster across the bridge as a symbol of victory. Her husband, unable to attend the ceremony due to illness, was greeted later at his home by President Arthur.
The Brooklyn Bridge became a National Historic Landmark in 1964.
*John A. Roebling (1806-1969) was born in Prussia and immigrated to the USA in the late 1830s. He surveyed for railroad lines before becoming involved in suspension bridge design. He died 3 weeks after suffering a crushed foot by a ferry at the NY dock.
**Washington Roebling (1837-1926) was born in Saxonburg, Pennsylvania and graduated from Rensselaer Ploytechnic Institute in Troy, NY in 1857. He served as an officer in the Civil War and was on Little Round Top at the Battle of Gettysburg. He became chief engineer of the Brooklyn Bridge project after his father's death.
Portrait of Washington Roebling
by Theobald Chartran (1899)
Brooklyn Museum Image
photo by Jim Henderson (2009)