This weekend marks the 136th anniversary of the opening of the Brooklyn Bridge and you can celebrate with Untapped Cities! There are still a few tickets left to Sunday’s Secrets of the Brooklyn Bridge Walking Tour where you will learn the epic story of the bridge’s construction, discover tales of champagne vaults, art installations and a Cold War fallout shelter hidden inside its walls, and uncover more of the bridge’s hidden histories on a guided walk across the span.
Construction on the Brooklyn Bridge began in 1869 and from the outset it was an ambitious and dangerous project. At the time of construction, the Brooklyn Bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the world, measuring 1,595 feet from tower to tower. It was also the highest structure in the New York City skyline, topping out at 276 feet high.
The bridge was originally designed by engineer John Augustus Roebling, but when Roebling died in an unrelated accident during the first year of construction, his son Washington took over. Washington would also be taken out of action due to a severe case of caisson disease, or the bends, a common affliction suffered by those who worked on excavating the riverbed to build the bridge’s tower foundations into the bedrock. Construction was completed under the leadership of Roebling’s wife Emily who would relay instructions to the crew as Roebling watched the progress through a telescope from his room in Columbia Heights.
Despite the many challenges faced during the bridge’s construction, it was finally complete nearly fifteen years later and opened to the public on May 24, 1889. It was hailed as a modern marvel and the “eighth wonder of the world.” To this day, the Brooklyn Bridge continues to inspire and impress New Yorkers and tourists alike. Join Untapped Cities to celebrate the anniversary of the opening of the bridge this weekend on our Secrets of the Brooklyn Bridge Tour tour!