The Brooklyn Bridge—
It’s not just the most famous span in New York City; the Brooklyn Bridge is one of the most iconic bridges in the whole world.
As does something so globally recognizable, there is a lot of interesting history and neat trivia tidbits to know about the Brooklyn Bridge.
Here are 5+ interesting Brooklyn Bridge facts to know:
1. It Wasn’t Always Called the Brooklyn Bridge
The Brooklyn Bridge was originally known as the New York and Brooklyn Bridge, and it was overseen by a board of directors under the incorporated New York and Brooklyn Bridge Company.
It also was referred to as the Great East River Bridge, the Great East River Suspension Bridge, and simply as the East River Bridge.
2. The Brooklyn Bridge Was Built With German Engineering
John Augustus Roebling was a German immigrant who came to the United States in the 1830s. Together with his older brother, Friedrich Carl Roebling, who immigrated with him, he founded Saxonburg, Pennsylvania, a small farming town near Pittsburgh. However, John Roebling’s true passion was engineering, and he quickly grew tired of farm life. Over the next few decades, he got back into engineering through creating wire ropes, then designing smaller bridges.
During this time, New York City was actively looking for design proposals for a bridge that could span the East River connecting Manhattan with the then city of Brooklyn. John Augustus Roebling submitted the winning proposal in 1852.
3. It Was the First Steel-Wire Suspension Bridge
Innovative for its time, the Brooklyn Bridge was the first suspension bridge to use bundled steel wire. When John Augustus Roebling was still in Saxonburg, he had begun making wire ropes to replace weaker hemp ropes for use on boats and with railway cars. By the 1840s, he had a successful wire rope operation and moved it to Trenton, New Jersey. Soon after, his wire ropes would suspend New York City’s famous bridge.
4. Elephants Crossed the Bridge to Show Its Strength
Compared to the weight of the thousands upon thousands of vehicles which cross the Brooklyn Bridge each day, a few elephants don’t seem like much weight. The largest elephant type, the African Bush Elephant, weighs in at around 13,000 lbs (5,900 kg), which is as much as about three everyday pickup trucks.
Still, New York City wanted to prove to the public that the bridge was steady and strong, especially after a horrific stampede soon after its opening which killed 12 people. So, it allowed the famous P.T. Barnum (of circus fame) to lead a group of 21 elephants and 17 camels over the bridge to prove how solid its construction was.
5. It’s Not the Only Brooklyn Bridge
Australia has two Brooklyn Bridges. There is a Brooklyn Bridge on the Federation Trail heading to Brooklyn in Victoria, and there is a Brooklyn Bridge near Sydney, as well. The latter Brooklyn Bridge crosses the Hawkesbury River to connect Mooney Mooney Point and Kangaroo Point in New South Wales. How Australia is that!
Related Read: 100+ Fascinating Facts About Australia
Well, that’s all our Brooklyn Bridge facts for now, and we hope it’s given you some insight into this iconic span. Got any questions, feedback, or other facts about the Brooklyn Bridge to add to our list? Let us know in the comments below, and thank you for reading!