The Brooklyn Bridge Is the Eighth Wonder of the World, but Its Construction Was Plagued by Tragedy

facts first presents the Brooklyn Bridge

is the 8th wonder of the world but its

construction was plagued by tragedy on

May 24th 1883 a happy crowd gathered for

a momentous occasion the Brooklyn Bridge

was opened and finally New York and

Brooklyn could be connected across the

East River there was a huge celebration

the band was playing there were

fireworks and ships were firing off

cannons it was a wonderful celebration

and everyone in attendance ignored the

problems that occurred when the bridge

was being built the Brooklyn Bridge

might be the 8th wonder of the world

but its construction was plagued by

tragedy the building of the bridge

pushed past the technology that was

available at the time which meant the

workers were in danger every day of the

13 years it took to build the bridge the

most dangerous job was building the two

massive towers that held the web of wire

supports that hold the bridge the

workers that handled this dangerous job

were paid $2 25 cents per day back then

that was an excellent wage because of

the danger involved workers were

quitting every week it was just too much

for too little pay the engineer who came

up with the plans for the Brooklyn

Bridge was a man named John Augustus

Roebling he was a German man who came to

the United States in 1831 in Germany he

was an engineer when he got to the US he

worked as a farmer he returned to

engineering in 1837 he had a fascination

with suspension bridges and he built one

across Pittsburgh's Monongahela River

next he developed an 825 foot railroad

crossing over the Niagara when he came

up with the idea for the Brooklyn Bridge

the state Senate approved it and he was

going to be the chief engineer while

John was out surveying the location for

the bridge he suffered a tragic accident

he was standing on the Brooklyn jetty

when a ferry thumped into it it crushed

the toes on his right foot so severely

his toes had to be amputated he refused

Orthodox medical treatment which

involved water therapy on the wound and

that resulted in an infection

three weeks after the accident he died

from tetanus at the age of 63

fortunately the Brooklyn Bridge project

would go on his son Washington and his

daughter-in-law Emily were closely

involved in the construction of the

bridge so they took over William boss

tweed owned plenty of property in

Manhattan he wanted the bridge to be

built because he believed it would

increase his land value he was worried

the local politicians would drop out of

the project because John had passed so

he arranged bribes of $60,000 that he

stashed in a carpetbag and then

delivered to various New York

politicians he became a major

stockholder in the project and took

control of the bridge in the end he

never benefited from his crooked

dealings the law caught up with him and

he was charged with corruption in 1871

he couldn't afford to post his three

million-dollar bail so he remained in

Ludlow Street jail on January 2nd 1870

six months after John's death

construction of the bridge began under

the watch of Washington and Emily the

first part of the job was to build two

structures called caissons one would be

created on the Brooklyn side the other

on the Manhattan side making them was

dangerous and 264 men worked on them

each day because the jobs were dangerous

and there was so much turnover a total

of 2,500 men worked on the project

during the construction there was fire

in the wooden roof of one of the

caissons after the fire the roof of the

Manhattan side was deeper beneath the

river than the Brooklyn side so it had

to be deeper this meant that the

compressed air pressure was higher this

put workers in danger the deep-sea

divers who were working under the water

were at risk of decompression sickness

that occurs if you come up from great

depths too quickly it can be

debilitating and even fatal many workers

suffered from that illness and

decompression sickness was dubbed

caisson disease Washington was one of

the people who became very ill he

managed to supervise the operation from

his sickbed and his wife Emily was there

to take his place on site back then

women were not engineers but Emily had

no choice she was the only person who

regular contact with her brother

Washington so she was his messenger she

handled many other duties such as

project management handling politicians

and helping her husband complete the

project she handled everything for 11

years as the Brooklyn Bridge took shape

workers were being mangled maimed and

even killed in April 1870 - a worker

named John Meyers died from

decompression sickness

Patrick McKay died from the same cause 8

days later a week later Daniel Reardon

died men were also dying from falls into

the East River and by being hit by

building materials such as granite and

steel a man named Peter cope got his leg

caught in a wiring mechanism and died

Neal mullet died three days after

Christmas in 1877 when an archway

collapsed between the cement that wasn't

dried Andrus uppal and Thomas Blake died

when a cable snapped and hit them the

official death toll during the bridges

construction was 24 when the bridge was

finally complete Emily was the first to

cross it a few days later a woman

slipped down some stairs and screamed it

caused a panic and there was a stampede

that killed 12 people the next time you

crossed the Brooklyn Bridge remember all

those who died just trying to make it

possible for you to cross subscribe for