Looking at the lovely structure today, it's difficult to imagine that its starts were less than stellar. In 1867, a builder by the name of John A. Roebling started the project which would end up being the Brooklyn Bridge. Due to political tussling and funding concerns, building on the bridge didn't begin until 1870.
Regrettably, J.A. Roebling would not live to see his vision take shape. He passed away from an injury he’d gotten while visiting the construction location. Rather, his child, Washington Roebling, an accomplished bridge engineer in his own right, would take the lead on the task.
Not content to sit on the sidelines and watch, Washington took an active role in the goings on at the building site. One day, after spending excessive time in an airtight cylinder below the East River, he ended up being sick with the bends or "diving sickness"-- an illness that little was known about at the time.
While Washington partially recuperated from his illness, he was still bedridden. His wife Emily stepped in and they formed an effective team who were admired for their "can do" spirit, with Emily becoming the active manager and Washington speaking with her from their apartment or condo.
The couple faced numerous troubles throughout the building, including political interference and holding up of funds. They pressed through these troubles and saw the completion of the bridge that J.A. Roebling had begun many years previously.
There was jubilation on the first day the bridge opened. There were 150,000 people and 1,800 cars crossing the bridge that first day. If you were walking throughout, you paid one cent. Automobiles paid five cents. By all accounts, the Brooklyn Bridge was a creative, social and technological success.
Today, the Brooklyn Bridge is a national historical landmark and people still delight in walking across its 1,595 foot span. The walk can take anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes. The scenery is breathtaking as you stop along to read all the historic information plaques.
In the distance, you can also see that other famous New York City landmark, the Statue of Liberty. Be prepared to bring a jacket with you because the East River kicks up rather a breeze.