The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the oldest suspension bridges in the United States. It stretches over the East River to connect two islands -- Manhattan Island and Long Island with its cities of Brooklyn and Queens.
Construction began on January 3, 1870. Thirteen years later, on May 24, 1883, President Chester Arthur and New York Mayor Franklin Edson stepped onto the Bridge and began walking east. They were accompanied by cannon fire. Tall ships gathered in the East Bay. When they stepped into Brooklyn, fireworks greeted them. They had just crossed a river walking on -- at that time -- the longest suspension bridge in the world. On that first day almost two thousand vehicles drove across and over a hundred fifty thousand people walked across the only land passage between Manhattan and Long Island. The bridge costs $15.5 million to build. Approximately 27 people died during its construction.
One week after the opening, on May 30, 1883, someone cried, "The Bridge is falling." The resulting stampede killed twelve people and threw the Bridge's reputation into question. A year later P. T. Barnum's famous elephant Jumbo led a parade of 21 elephants over the Brooklyn Bridge. Barnum said the parade was to prove to people that the Bridge was safe. The publicity didn't hurt his circus, either.
The Bridge was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1974 and in 1991 I bought it from a totally reputable person.