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The Amazing Bridge


It took thirteen years (1870-1883) to build instead of the promised three; compared to six years it took to build the Transcontinental Railroad (1863-1689). Or the nine years it took Keith Godard to put up the plaques. $15,000,000 instead of the estimated $7,000,000. In today’s money, the Brooklyn Bridge cost more than $1,500,000,000 to build.

The Brooklyn Bridge was the first suspension bridge in the world to use steel for its cable wire.  John August Roebling designed the bridge so well that it is six times stronger than it was supposed to be!  No wonder it can handle 145,000 vehicles and 5,000 pedestrians that cross the bridge every day.  The most number of pedestrians that crossed the bridge in a single day was the 400th anniversary celebration of Christopher Columbus on October 12, 2017.  It was the first bridge in the world to be illuminated at night by electricity.  The Brooklyn Bridge was the world’s longest bridge from 1883 to 1890.  To prove that the bridge was secure to a skeptical audience, P. T. Barnum marched a herd of 21 elephants across the bridge in an 1884 publicity stunt beneficial for both the bridge and the circus.


Neither John Augustus Roebling nor Washington Augustus Roebling ever crossed over the Brooklyn Bridge.  Emily Warren Roebling was officially the first person to walk across the bridge.

NYC Blog 74 The Brooklyn Bridge, the Amazing Bridge and Bibliography © 2017 by Dr. Philip Ernest Schoenberg


Plaque of the three builders of the Brooklyn Bridge:  John, Washington, and Emily Roebling


Burns, Ken. Brooklyn Bridge. (Videotape, PBS).

Harrod, Kathryn E.  Master Bridge Builders: The Story of the Roeblings. New York:         Julian     Messner, Inc., 1958.

Inside the Brooklyn Bridge (Videotape, Discovery Channel.) 1999

Kaplan, Leslie.  Brooklyn Bridge. (Fiction).

Mann, Elizabeth B. The Brooklyn Bridge.

McCullough, David.  The Great Bridge: The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge.  New York:  Simon & Schuster, 1972.  Unabridged audiotape version of the              book has been done.

Modern Marvels:  Brooklyn Bridge.  (Videotape, History Channel), 1998

Modern Marvels: East River Bridges. (Videotape, History Channel). 1999.

Pascoe, Ellen. The Brooklyn Bridge.

St. George, Judith. Brooklyn Bridge.  They Said It Couldn=t be Done.

Schoenberg, Philip.  Brooklyn Bridge Talk and Walk:  New York:  New York Talks and     Walks, 1998 (audiotape).

Schuyler, Hamilton.  The Roeblings:  A Century of Engineers and  Industrialist C The      Story      of Three Generations of an Illustrious Family 1831-1931.  Princeton:         Princeton University Press, 1931.

Shapiro, Mary J.  A Picture History of the Brooklyn Bridge.  New York:  Dover                   Publications, Inc., 1983.

Trachtenberg, Alan.  Brooklyn Bridge:  Fact and Symbol. New York:  Oxford University   Press, 1965.


Part IX:  Additional Information About the Brooklyn Bridge


C              First bridge in the world to be lit by electricity at night.

C              First suspension bridge to use galvanized steel wires in its main cables.

C              Cincinnati-Covington Bridge, sister of the Brooklyn Bridge, also built by John A. Roebling, opened in 1866, is the only other suspension bridge in the United States to have stone towers.


C              Today, some 30 New York City Department of Transportation workers look after the bridge.

C              It is supposed to be repainted every five years but this is not always on schedule.

C              Epoxy paints are used.

Physical Structure:


C              River Span: 1,595 feet.

C              5,989 feet in total length including approaches and land spansCtwice as along as any previous bridge built at its opening in 1883.

C              85 feet wide at bridge floor.


C              Number of cables: 4.

C              Diameter of each cable: 15 3/4 inches.

C              Length:  3,578 feet 6 inches.

C              Number of wires in each cable:  5,434.

C              Total length of wire in each cable: 3,515 miles.

  • Number of wires in each strand:

C              Number of strands in each cable: 19.

C              Weight of each cable: 7,732,086 pounds.

C              Pull strength of each cable: 24, 621,780 pounds.


C              Depth of Brooklyn side: 44 feet 6 inches below high water.

C              Depth of Manhattan side: 78 feet 6 inches.

C              Height of each Tower: 276 feet 6 inches.

C              Weight of each anchorage: 60,000 to

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