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The Brooklyn Bridge: Facts, History, Timeline

The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the oldest suspension bridges in the United States. Completed in 1883, it connects the New York City boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn by spanning the East River. Originally referred to as the New York and Brooklyn Bridge, it was dubbed the Brooklyn Bridge in a January 25, 1867 letter to the editor of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.


Fun Facts About the Brooklyn Bridge

Bridge Style: Suspension Bridge.

What River Does the Brooklyn Bridge Cross: East River

Who maintains the Brooklyn BridgeNew York City Department of Transportation

Who Designed the Brooklyn Bridge: John Augustus Roebling

Is there a toll to cross the Brooklyn Bridge: No, it’s free both ways

Tower Structure: Stone masonry

Distance of roadbed above water: 135 feet

Height of Towers above high water : 276½ feet

Height of Towers above roadway: 159 feet

Height of Tower Arches above roadway: 117 feet

Number of Suspension Cables: four 15 3/4″ diameter wire ropes.

Number of Strands in each cable: 19

Total Length of Wire for the Brooklyn Bridge in cables: approximately 3600 miles

Miles of wrapping wire on each cable: 243 miles 943 feet

Number of Suspenders on the Brooklyn Bridge: 1520

Number of Diagonal Stays: 400

Tested cable wire strength: 160 ksi

Maximum load on single cable of the Brooklyn Bridge: 6,000 kips

Ultimate strength of cables of the Brooklyn Bridge: 24,600 kips

Brooklyn Bridge East River Span: 1595.5 feet

Length of Brooklyn Approach: 971 feet

Length of New York Approach: 1562½ feet

What is the official length of the Brooklyn Bridge: 5,989 feet, 1.13 miles.

Width of the Brooklyn Bridge Floor: 85 feet

Total Weight of the Brooklyn Bridge, excluding caissons, towers, anchorages: 14,680 tons

How much did it cost to build the Brooklyn Bridge: $15,100,000

What is the architectural style: Gothic


Timeline of The Construction of the Brooklyn Bridge

1524: Giovanni da Verrazano explores New York Bay.

1646: Town of Brooklyn chartered by Dutch West India Company.

1654: Coney Island acquired from the Indians.

1683: Towns of Brooklyn, Bushwick, Flatbush, Flatlands, Gravesend and New Utrecht form Kings County.

1776: George Washington retreats across the East River and Brooklyn is occupied by British soldiers.

1814: Steamship Nassau begins ferry service between Brooklyn and New York.

1816: Village of Brooklyn, present-day downtown area, is incorporated within the Town of Brooklyn.

1834: Town of Brooklyn incorporated as City of Brooklyn.

1854: City of Brooklyn formed merging cities of Brooklyn, Williamsburgh, and Bushwick.

1860: Brooklyn becomes the third largest city in America. Its population is 279,122.

1866: New York state legislature passes legislation for construction of New York-Brooklyn Bridge

1867: New York Bridge Company incorporated; John Roebling presents design for 1,600-foot bridge across East River; Roebling appointed engineer.

1868-1869:Common Council appropriates $1.5 million for construction costs. President Ulysses S. Grant signs bill approving bridge plan.

1870: Construction of Brooklyn-side wooden caisson begins.

1871: Construction begins on New York-side caisson; construction completed on Brooklyn-side caisson.

1872: Washington Roebling incapacitated by “caisson disease,” becomes invalid; directs project from Brooklyn Heights apartment through wife Emily.
1873: William Marcy “Boss” Tweed, trustee of bridge company, convicted of stealing public funds, enters prison.

1875: Construction of New York caisson completed. Construction of anchorages on both sides of river continues. Towers completed on both

1876-1877: Manufacture of steel-strand cables begins for bridge.

1878: Small strand in bridge support cable snaps, leads to investigation of J. Lloyd Haigh company, supplier of the bridge cables. Temporary footbridge opens and construction of roadway begins.

1879: Road construction continues.

1880: J. Lloyd Haigh imprisoned for fraud; road construction continues.

1881: Road construction continues.

1882: By narrow 10-7 vote, bridge company retains Roebling as project engineer in dispute over delays and cost overruns.

May 24, 1883: Bridge roadway completed. Bridge opens to traffic, President Chester A. Arthur attends ceremony.