2. She Crossed the Bridge Before it Was Finished

Brooklyn Bridge under construction
Image via Library of Congress

Emily Roebling was fearless in many ways and proved her daring by walking between the two towers of the Brooklyn Bridge, two years before it was officially completed. On December 12, 1881, a steadfast Emily led a group of trustees across the bridge from Brooklyn to Manhattan, walking along a five-foot-wide, wooden plank footbridge suspended high over the East River. Once safely across, there was a champagne toast to celebrate, and no doubt calm the nerves of the trustees who followed in Emily’s sure footsteps.

The temporary footbridge was made for workers on the bridge. Emily, acting as the Chief Engineer, had walked along the bridge multiple times during her on-site visits. Not everyone was brave enough to make it all the way across. Some reporters with weaker stomachs and shakier knees turned around after going only a short distance.