Everyone loves the Brooklyn Bridge, but there’s a lot you don’t know about the fabled span. Such as:
• The bridge, completed in 1883, was built without with the aid of electricity.
• After several workers died after spending long stretches in caissons under the East River, scientists started studying the condition — now known as “the bends” — helping to improve safety for deep-sea divers.
• The bridge began as a privately financed project — funded by the New York and Brooklyn Bridge Company. But the work went over budget, and investors were bailed out by the state, which financed the remainder of the $15-million project — more than $2.5 billion in today’s money.
• A week after the bridge opened, a rumor spread that the span could collapse — prompting a stampede that killed 12 people. But to reassure bridge users of the bridge’s strength, PT Barnum marched 21 “Jumbo” elephants across it (successfully, by the way).
• And those stories of people “buying” the Brooklyn Bridge? Well, they’re true. One con man, George Parker, sold the bridge to several unlucky marks, once for as little as $50. And another, William McCloundy, spent two and a half years in Sing Sing for hawking the bridge in 1901.
— Colin Mixson
©2011 Community News Group
By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:
You agree that you, and not BrooklynPaper.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to BrooklynPaper.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.