took 14 years to build and 27 people lost their lives building it. It was one
of the most spectacular engineering achievements of it's time, and the largest
suspension bridge ever completed at that time in history. It would connect New
York to Brooklyn for the first time, and eventually served as the catalyst for
the creation of Greater New York City in 1898.
opening ceremony was presided over by President Chester A Arthur, and New York
Governor, Grover Cleveland. The senior designer was John A Roebling, who died
while taking final compass readings across the East River. His son, Washington
A Roebling, 32, took over as chief engineer.
first person across the bridge was Emily Roebling, wife of William, who rode across
it with a rooster, a symbol of victory.
the first 24 hours it is estimated that 250,000 people walked across the broad
promenade on the Bridge designed for pedestrians.
foundations of the Bridge were built in timber caissons (watertight chambers)
44 feet underwater on the Brooklyn side and 78 feet on the New York side. This
caused serious illness in those that worked in the chambers as little was known
about underwater construction and compression sickness (the "bends"*)
at the time. Washington Roebling himself was taken ill with the bends, but survived,
albeit bed ridden.
bends is when nitrogen bubbles appear in the blood stream when a human body is
decompressed quickly from underwater (ie comes up to the surface too fast).