3. She Drove Across the Brooklyn Bridge with a Rooster

Brooklyn Bridge span

When the bridge officially opened, Emily Roebling sent out invitations to her female friends requesting that they join her “party of ladies” for the “opening of the big bridge.” Emily wanted her friends to form “a procession across to the bridge, sort of in opposition to the presidential procession on the New York side,” she wrote.

Before the official opening day ceremonies, Emily was given the honor of being the first person to drive across the bridge in a carriage and she brought an interesting companion. Sitting in her lap for the horse-drawn ride was a rooster which served as a symbol of victory. On opening day, May 24th, 1883, over 150,000 people made their way across the new span. President Chester A. Arthur rode across the bridge in a procession from the Manhattan side and then attended a reception at the Roebling home.