The Brooklyn Bridge on foot is the best way to travel from Brooklyn to Manhattan. A summer stroll across this mile-long expanse of stone and steel offers stunning views of the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Heights, and the Manhattan Skyline.
People said that this great bridge was impossible. A bridge this long, this high, and this strong had never been built before. Then, in 1867, a German-born, American civil engineer named John Roebling started designing it. Using Gothic arches, innovative steel wire rope, and a new engineering technology called “caissons” that would allow men to dig deep underground in the East River, Roebling’s bridge would push the potential for all future bridges.
The First Female Engineer
Sadly, John Roebling wouldn’t live to see a single stone set. He was fatally injured in a ferry boat accident and his son, Washington Roebling, took over the project. Washington came down with the bends, was confined to bed, and forced to watch the construction from his home in Brooklyn Heights. Washington’s wife, Emily Roebling, stepped in and lead the all-male-workforce to complete the bridge. Quite a feat for a woman, considering women wouldn’t win the right to vote in all fifty states for another fifty years. Emily’s contributions were so valuable that she is widely recognized as America’s very first female engineer. A plaque in her honor is affixed to the Brooklyn Bridge. It reads: “Back of every great work we can find the self-sacrificing devotion of a woman.”
‘The Eighth Wonder of the World’
When the Brooklyn Bridge opened in 1883, and it was considered the “Eighth Wonder of the World”. The very first people to walk over it and look down at the East River below, equated the experience to walking on the moon! Adding to the magic, it was also the very first bridge to be lit using electrical lights. If you walk over the Brooklyn Bridge at night, you will be treated to the dazzling array of lightbulbs illuminating the way!
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