Facts about the Brooklyn Bridge

One of the most interesting facts about the Brooklyn Bridge relates to the famous structure’s age. This was the world’s first steel-wire suspension bridge, and it was completed way back in 1883. As for the person who designed it, that distinction mostly goes to John Augustus Roebling. Born in Germany, Roebling relocated to the United States in the early 1830's, and it is safe to say that he left his mark on his new country.

Before he was commissioned to design the Brooklyn Bridge, John Augustus Roebling designed a series of shorter suspension bridges in the United States and made quite a name for himself in the process. One example of these less-lengthy bridges is the Roebling’s Delaware Aqueduct in Pennsylvania. It is safe to say that Roebling’s prior projects went more smoothly, however. After all, the famous bridge designer sustained a crush injury to one of his feet while conducting surveys for the Brooklyn Bridge assignment. A ferry and a pier combined to cause the injury, and Roebling died not long after due to a subsequent tetanus infection.

Before he passed away, John Augustus Roebling turned the Brooklyn Bridge project over to his son Washington. It seemed that the "curse" was passed on in the process. Washington also suffered a significant injury while working on the project. Decompression sickness that resulted from diving was to blame, and it left the new man in charge rather debilitated. Washington would require the help of his wife Emily to convey his remaining intentions to staff engineers and bridge builders during the remainder of the construction process.

There are plenty of interesting facts about the Brooklyn Bridge that don’t involve injuries. The total length, for example, is 6,016 feet if you include the approaches. That’s more than a mile long. At mid-span, the Brooklyn Bridge offers a clearance of 135 feet, and this allows all types of ships to gain passage. In terms of width, it is 85 feet wide, and the attractive neo-Gothic towers that add so much architectural allure stand 276 feet above the mean high water level.

The Brooklyn Bridge is understandably a National Historic Landmark, and for those who are interested, it is possible to get up close and personal with the grand structure on a Brooklyn Bridge walking tour. It is also possible to drive across the bridge. Spanning the East River, it provides a major connection between Brooklyn and Manhattan and accommodates no less than six lanes of traffic.

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