Across The East River: The Brooklyn Bridge completed May of 1883.

Wyatt and Jonah on the bridge walkway.

On May 24, 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge, linking Brooklyn with Manhattan, was opened to traffic with a celebration attended by President Chester A. Arthur, Gov. Grover Cleveland of New York, and Emily Roebling, the wife of the bridge’s main engineer, Washington Roebling.

Never A Bridge Too Far

Jonah and Wyatt honor the immigrants whose energy and innovation brought the bridge from concept to reality. Courage, chicanery, unprecedented ingenuity and plain blundering, heroes, rascals, all the best and worst in human nature played a part. At the center of the drama were the stricken chief engineer, Washington Roebling and his remarkable wife, Emily Warren Roebling, neither of whom ever gave up in the face of one heartbreaking setback after another.

The Truths Of The Bridge

Wyatt and Jonah respect the “dogged”,nature of the engineers and laborers who overcame enormous and unforeseen challenges. In the years around 1870, when the project was first undertaken, the concept of building an unprecedented bridge to span the East River between the great cities of Manhattan and Brooklyn required a vision and determination comparable to that which went into the building of the great cathedrals. Throughout the fourteen years of its construction, the odds against the successful completion of the bridge seemed staggering. Bodies were crushed and broken, lives lost, political empires fell, and surges of public emotion constantly threatened the project. But this is not merely the saga of an engineering miracle; it is a sweeping narrative of the social climate of the time and of the heroes and rascals who had a hand in either constructing or exploiting the surpassing enterprise.

Jonah and Wyatt remind themselves that the Great Bridge demonstrates what can be achieved when people work together. When it opened, the Brooklyn Bridge, also referred to as the Great East River Bridge, was the largest suspension bridge in the world, with a span of 1,595 feet. It had two carriageways and two railway lines, with a raised middle platform for pedestrians, who could cross the bridge for the price of one cent. It was the first land connection between New York and Brooklyn, which previously was linked only by ferry or boat.

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