Today in history: May 24, 1883
The Brooklyn Bridge in New York City opened to traffic after 14 years of construction.
The bridge was built to conveniently connect Brooklyn to New York City. The bitter winter of 1867 froze the East River, leaving those trying to travel between Brooklyn & NYC with the only option of carriage transportation. This process took more time, it is said, than it did to travel from the state capital of Albany to New York City by train. Public support for the Brooklyn Bridge amassed in response.
William Tweed backed the plan to build the longest suspension bridge in the world- stretching over a mile from end to end. The plan included an elevated pedestrian promenade, of which is the subject of the photo above, taken in 1899.
The bridge’s original designer, John Roebling, died while surveying the land for the bridge, leaving the project to his son, Washington.
The building of the bridge left an American legacy, but not without causalities. Many workmen died from the bends after working in the caissons. Some fell from the towers, or were crushed by falling debris. There is no way of knowing how many workers died with records slim to none.