The world-famous Brooklyn Bridge is used by millions of people every year and is one of the most important infrastructures in all of New York City! It provides clear access across the river and safe passage for travelers and commuters alike. But how much do you really think you know about this world-famous bridge? Here are some fun facts about the Brooklyn Bridge that might surprise you…
1. When was the Brooklyn Bridge made?
The Brooklyn Bridge may look old – and that’s because it really is! Construction on the bridge began back in 1869 and only ended in 1883!
2. And what about the why?
The Brooklyn Bridge was made to provide safe passage for commuters between Brooklyn and Manhattan. And it has done its job very well since its construction (do you hear anyone complaining? Don’t answer that!)
3. Who designed the Brooklyn Bridge?
The Brooklyn Bridge was designed by John A. Roebling. He professionally designed and built wire rope suspension bridges, so he was definitely the right man for the job!
4. A bridge of many names!
Nowadays, we all know the structure purely as The Brooklyn Bridge, however, it has gone through many names in the past few years. It has also been known as the Great East River Bridge, the Great East River Suspension Bridge, and finally, also the New York and Brooklyn Bridge. Decidedly, the Brooklyn Bridge is definitely the quickest and easiest to say – it stuck for sure!
5. The sad fate of John A. Roebling.
Sadly, the Brooklyn Bridge’s designer, John A. Roebling, did not live long enough to finally see the completion of his project. In fact, he died while working on the bridge! He was taking measurements for the bridge back in 1869, when a ferry crushed his foot. He developed tetanus from the injury and died as a result back in July 1869.
6. Like father, like son!
Following the death of John A. Roebling, who was better to take his place than his own son, Washington Augustus Roebling? He became the chief engineer on the project, but he, too, had his fair share of misfortune on the bridge!
7. What did caisson disease have to do with the Brooklyn Bridge?
To build the bridge’s foundation, workers had to work in sealed chambers that kept the riverbed dry and enabled them to dig. These chambers were known as caissons, and in order to work in them, the workers needed compressed air.
Anyone who’s ever been diving will know that with compressed air comes the risk of decompression sickness. Back then, decompression sickness was known as caisson disease, which Washington Roebling suffered from back in 1872!
8. Enter Emily!
After yet another Roebling fell victim to the bridge’s construction, a third one had to step in! Emily Warren Roebling, wife of Washington, became chief engineer – and is regarded as a vital female pioneer in her trade. Following her work on the bridge, she eventually graduated with a law degree from NYU (New York University) and even published multiple essays about gender equality!
9. Why did the chicken cross the bridge?
Technically speaking, both Emily and a chicken crossed the bridge before anybody else – a week before the bridge’s official opening. The rooster in question was in her lap for good fortune – and it’s safe to say he was a good omen!
10. The metal of the future!
John Augustus Roebling used to refer to steel as being the metal of the future – and he was resoundingly correct. In fact, the Brooklyn Bridge was the world’s first-ever steel-wire suspension bridge, and it clearly innovated bridge design for decades to follow.
FAQs about The Brooklyn Bridge
What is the Brooklyn Bridge most famous for?
Although the Brooklyn Bridge is famous for a great many things, one of its most famous qualities is that it was the first suspension bridge ever to use steel for its cable wire! It ended up being a groundbreaking feat of engineering that’s inspired structures all over the planet.
How long does it take to walk over the Brooklyn Bridge?
If you are planning on visiting the bridge, then it could take you about an hour to get across on foot! However, commuters in a hurry generally manage to get across the Brooklyn Bridge in about 25 minutes end to end.
How much does it cost to walk the Brooklyn Bridge?
If you are planning on walking the Brooklyn Bridge, then you can leave your wallet behind! It is absolutely free to cross on foot - why not give it a try?
Do you know any fun facts about Brooklyn Bridge? Share them in the comments below!