Posts Tagged ‘Brooklyn Bridge opening day’

The Brooklyn Bridge is celebrating its birthday

May 17, 2021

Work began in 1870 and was finally completed 13 years later (at a cost of $15 million and with more than 20 worker deaths). Now, the Brooklyn Bridge is marking its 138th birthday on May 24.

What better way to honor an icon than with a brilliant lithograph produced by a Pearl Street publisher depicting the fireworks, ship parade, and procession of 150,000 pedestrians walking across this engineering marvel for the first time on May 24, 1883? After politicians, including President Chester A. Arthur, gave speeches, the bridge was opened to the public just before midnight.

“From high water to roadway 120 ft—from high water to centre of span 135 ft—from roadway to top 158 ft—width of Bridge 85 ft—with tracks for steam cars, roadway for carriages, and walks for foot passengers, and an elevated promenade commanding a view of extraordinary beauty and extant,” the caption reads.

[Image: Metropolitan Museum of Art]

The East River “great suspension bridge” opens

May 22, 2010

May 24 marks the 127th anniversary of the opening of the Brooklyn Bridge, celebrated in 1883 with a “grand display of fireworks and illuminations” according to this newspaper account.

The Brooklyn Bridge was hailed as an engineering marvel; schools closed for the day as politicians gave speeches and thousands of pedestrians were charged one cent to cross it.

But the festivities didn’t last. A few days later, after a staircase gave way, tragedy struck and 12 pedestrians were killed.