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Fri May 24, 2019, 06:35 AM

136 Years Ago Today; The Brooklyn Bridge opens for traffic

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brooklyn_Bridge



The Brooklyn Bridge is a hybrid cable-stayed/suspension bridge in New York City. It connects the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn, spanning the East River. The Brooklyn Bridge has a main span of 1,595.5 feet (486.3 m) and a height of 276.5 ft (84.3 m) above mean high water. It is one of the oldest roadway bridges in the United States and was the world's first steel-wire suspension bridge, as well as the first fixed crossing across the East River.

The Brooklyn Bridge started construction in 1869 and was completed fourteen years later in 1883. It was originally called the New York and Brooklyn Bridge and the East River Bridge, but it was later dubbed the Brooklyn Bridge, a name coming from an earlier January 25, 1867 letter to the editor of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle and formally so named by the city government in 1915. Over the years, the Brooklyn Bridge has undergone several reconfigurations; it formerly carried horse-drawn vehicles and elevated railway lines, but now carries vehicular, pedestrian, and bicycle traffic. Commercial vehicles are banned from the bridge.

Since opening, the Brooklyn Bridge has become an icon of New York City, ranking among the city's most popular tourist attractions. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1964 and a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark in 1972.

Design
Although the Brooklyn Bridge is technically a suspension bridge, it uses a hybrid cable-stayed/suspension bridge design. The towers are built of limestone, granite, and Rosendale cement. The limestone was quarried at the Clark Quarry in Essex County, New York. The granite blocks were quarried and shaped on Vinalhaven Island, Maine, under a contract with the Bodwell Granite Company, and delivered from Maine to New York by schooner.

The bridge was built with numerous passageways and compartments in its anchorages. New York City rented out the large vaults under the bridge's Manhattan anchorage in order to fund the bridge. Opened in 1876, the vaults were used to store wine, as they were always at 60 °F (16 °C). This was called the "Blue Grotto" because of a shrine to the Virgin Mary next to an opening at the entrance. When New York magazine visited one of the cellars in 1978, it discovered on the wall a "fading inscription" reading: "Who loveth not wine, women and song, he remaineth a fool his whole life long."

History
Construction



John Augustus Roebling

The bridge was conceived by German immigrant John Augustus Roebling in 1852, who spent part of the next 15 years working to sell the idea. He had previously designed and constructed shorter suspension bridges, such as Roebling's Delaware Aqueduct in Lackawaxen, Pennsylvania, and the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge between Cincinnati, Ohio, and Covington, Kentucky.

In February 1867, the New York State Senate passed a bill that allowed the construction of a suspension bridge from Brooklyn to Manhattan. Two months later, the New York and Brooklyn Bridge Company was incorporated. The company was tasked with constructing what was then known as the New York and Brooklyn Bridge.

While conducting surveys for the bridge project, Roebling sustained a crush injury to his foot when a ferry pinned it against a piling. After amputation of his crushed toes, he developed a tetanus infection that left him incapacitated and soon resulted in his death in 1869. His 32-year-old son, Washington Roebling, was later designated to replace his father. "After a week I had become sufficiently composed to take a sober look at my own situation," Washington later wrote. "Here I was at the age of 32 suddenly put in charge of the most stupendous engineering structure of the age! The prop on which I had hitherto leaned had fallen -- henceforth I must rely on myself -- How much better when this happens early in life, before we realize what it all implies."

Construction of the Brooklyn Bridge began in 1869. The bridge's two towers were built by floating two caissons, giant upside-down boxes made of southern yellow pine, in the span of the East River, and then beginning to build the stone towers on top of them until they sank to the bottom of the river. Compressed air was pumped into the caissons, and workers entered the space to dig the sediment, until the caissons sank to the bedrock. Once the caissons had reached the desired depth, the caissons were filled in with brick piers and concrete. The whole weight of the bridge still rests upon these constructions.

Many workers became sick with the bends during this work. This condition was unknown at the time and was first called "caisson disease" by the project physician, Andrew Smith. Washington Roebling suffered a paralyzing injury as a result of "caisson disease" shortly after ground was broken for the Brooklyn tower foundation on January 3, 1870. Roebling's debilitating condition left him unable to physically supervise the construction firsthand.

As chief engineer, Roebling supervised the entire project from his apartment with a view of the work, designing and redesigning caissons and other equipment. He was aided by his wife, Emily Warren Roebling, who provided the critical written link between her husband and the engineers on site.[29] Emily Warren Roebling understood higher mathematics, calculations of catenary curves, strengths of materials, bridge specifications, and intricacies of cable construction. She spent the next 11 years helping to supervise the bridge's construction.

When iron probes underneath the caisson for the Manhattan tower found the bedrock to be even deeper than expected, Roebling halted construction due to the increased risk of decompression sickness. He later deemed the sandy subsoil overlying the bedrock 30 feet (9.1 m) below it to be firm enough to support the tower base, and construction continued.

The construction of the Brooklyn Bridge is detailed in The Great Bridge (1972), the book by David McCullough, and in Brooklyn Bridge (1981), the first PBS documentary film by Ken Burns. Burns drew heavily on McCullough's book for the film and used him as narrator. It is also described in Seven Wonders of the Industrial World, a BBC docudrama series with an accompanying book, as well as the book Chief Engineer: Washington Roebling, The Man Who Built the Brooklyn Bridge (2017).

Opening


Newspaper headline announcing opening

The New York and Brooklyn Bridge was opened for use on May 24, 1883. Thousands of people attended the opening ceremony, and many ships were present in the East Bay for the occasion. President Chester A. Arthur and Mayor Franklin Edson crossed the bridge to celebratory cannon fire and were greeted by Brooklyn Mayor Seth Low when they reached the Brooklyn-side tower. Arthur shook hands with Washington Roebling at the latter's home, after the ceremony. Roebling was unable to attend the ceremony (and in fact rarely visited the site again), but held a celebratory banquet at his house on the day of the bridge opening. Further festivity included the performance of a band, gunfire from ships, and a fireworks display. Since the New York and Brooklyn Bridge was the only one across the East River at that time, it was also called East River Bridge.


Chromolithograph of the "Great East River Suspension Bridge", (Brooklyn Bridge), by Currier and Ives, 1883.

On that first day, a total of 1,800 vehicles and 150,300 people crossed what was then the only land passage between Manhattan and Brooklyn. Emily Warren Roebling was the first to cross the bridge. The bridge's main span over the East River is 1,595 feet 6 inches (486.3 m). The bridge cost US$15.5 million in 1883 dollars (about US$403,339,000 in today's dollars) to build, and an estimated 27 men died during its construction.

On May 30, 1883, six days after the opening, a woman falling down the stairway caused a stampede, which was responsible for at least twelve people being crushed and killed. On May 17, 1884, P. T. Barnum helped to squelch doubts about the bridge's stability—while publicizing his famous circus—when one of his most famous attractions, Jumbo, led a parade of 21 elephants over the Brooklyn Bridge.

At the time it opened, and for several years, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world—50% longer than any previously built—and it has become a treasured landmark. Since the 1980s, it has been floodlit at night to highlight its architectural features. The architectural style is neo-Gothic, with characteristic pointed arches above the passageways through the stone towers. The paint scheme of the bridge is "Brooklyn Bridge Tan" and "Silver", although it has been argued that the original paint was "Rawlins Red".

At the time the bridge was built, engineers had not yet discovered the aerodynamics of bridge construction. Bridges were not tested in wind tunnels until the 1950s, well after the collapse of the original Tacoma Narrows Bridge, known as Galloping Gertie, in 1940. It is therefore fortunate that the open truss structure supporting the deck is by its nature less subject to aerodynamic problems. Roebling designed a bridge and truss system that was six times as strong as he thought it needed to be. Because of this, the Brooklyn Bridge is still standing when many of the bridges built around the same time have vanished or been replaced. This is also in spite of the substitution of inferior quality wire in the cabling supplied by the contractor J. Lloyd Haigh—by the time it was discovered, it was too late to replace the cabling that had already been constructed. Roebling determined that the poorer wire would leave the bridge four rather than six times as strong as necessary, so it was eventually allowed to stand, with the addition of 250 cables.


View from the pedestrian walkway. The bridge's cable arrangement forms a distinctive weblike pattern.

</snip>




Bonus track:

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Reply 136 Years Ago Today; The Brooklyn Bridge opens for traffic (Original post)
Dennis Donovan May 24 OP
Kingofalldems May 24 #1
Dennis Donovan May 24 #2
brooklynite May 24 #3
Dennis Donovan May 24 #4

Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Fri May 24, 2019, 06:46 AM

1. I own the Brooklyn Bridge.

Bought it a few years ago.

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Response to Kingofalldems (Reply #1)

Fri May 24, 2019, 06:48 AM

2. So I'm sub-letting it from you and not Steve Brodie?

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Fri May 24, 2019, 06:52 AM

3. Fun fact: it opened as a toll bridge...

When the Brooklyn Bridge first opened, it cost a penny to cross by foot, 5 cents for a horse and rider and 10 cents for a horse and wagon. Farm animals were allowed at a price of 5 cents per cow and 2 cents per sheep or hog.

https://www.history.com/news/10-things-you-may-not-know-about-the-brooklyn-bridge

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #3)

Fri May 24, 2019, 07:39 AM

4. This is a cool fact as well (from the same link)

10. Peregrine falcons nest atop it.
Peregrine falcons are the fastest animals on record, capable of reaching speeds over 200 miles per hour. They disappeared from the eastern United States due to DDT poisoning, but made a comeback after the pesticide was banned in 1972. Surprisingly, the birds soon began thriving in New York City, where they nest on bridges, church steeples and skyscrapers. Today, about 16 pairs of peregrines live in the Big Apple, and the Brooklyn Bridge has become one of their regular nesting sites.


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