Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge is a historical and architectural landmark. Opened in 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge was at one time the longest suspension bridge in the world. Originally referred to as the East River Bridge, the Brooklyn Bridge has become paramount in New York City and is considered an icon. With such a long history behind it, and the physical greatness of it, the bridge itself has a vast cultural significance. Following are five interesting and little-known facts about the Brooklyn Bridge.

  1. The opening of the Bridge had mass celebration.
  2. On May 24th, 1883, the bridge had its opening ceremony. The New York Times described it as “the greatest gala day in history” of the suburb. Governor of New York, local politicians, and Grover Cleveland were all prominent figures who appeared at the opening to celebrate. There were firework shows that lasted for hours, and over 150,000 people appeared over the next 24 hours to celebrate and take notice of that pivotal day in New York history.

  3. There was a rumor about its collapse.
  4. Nearly a week after its opening, there was a large amount of people on the bridge. Estimated at about 20,000, a sudden panic came over the people when a rumor emerged about the bridge’s impending collapse. Many people suffered injuries, and a dozen or so people were fatally crushed in a stairway trying to escape. There was no collapse, and no changes were made, aside from more police officers being stationed on the promenade.

  5. It took over 600 men to construct the bridge.
  6. Many of the workers were affiliated in different niches and trades. The workers who helped build the Brooklyn Bridge were laborers, blacksmiths, masons, painters, stonecutters, carpenters and engineers. They did not get equal pay; the laborers earned the least amount at only 1.75 dollars per day.

  7. Some of the men died during construction.
  8. While the estimated number differs from each source, at least twenty men died during the construction of the bridge. Most prominently, the designer of the bridge, John Roebling, died from tetanus. His foot was lodged and crushed, and while his toes were removed because of the accident, he died a few short months later. Accidents were difficult to predict, and many injuries were suffered.

  9. P.T. Barnum of Barnum and Bailey organized a publicity stunt for the bridge.
  10. Shortly after the scare concerning the stability of the bridge, circus owner Barnum led a parade of elephants across the bridge to reassure pedestrians, drivers, and New Yorkers that the bridge was safe to travel on. The parade had 21 elephants.

The Brooklyn Bridge has been iconized and acted as a large and undeniable part of New York and America’s culture. Its significance goes beyond being a mere architectural piece, but also a prominent part in historical consideration. The bridge’s importance and effectiveness as a structure is as prominent as its cultural standing, assisting New Yorkers and travelers alike in convenient transportation and also beautiful scenic views.


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