3. It’s Named After Benjamin Franklin’s Grand-Nephew

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The Williamsburg Bridge was names after Colonel Jonathan Williams, the grand-nephew of Benjamin Franklin, though his relation to the man was not what got a bridge and area of Brooklyn named after him. Born in 1751, Williams worked with Benjamin Franklin in Nantes, France, but it was his work back in the United States that earned him high recognition among his peers and high ranking members of the government, including two sitting presidents.

Williams served a distinguished career as a politician, military figure, businessman, and writer. The land of Williamsburg in today’s Brooklyn was named after him in 1802 by an investor who purchased the area, in honor of him being the one who surveyed the land.

Colonel Williams also designed strong fortifications on many buildings across New York City and Philadelphia. In fact, New York State put him in charge of constructing fortifications for New York City.