Brooklyn Bridge New York dry-point print by Nevinson 1921. Plate II facsimile of a dry-point published by ‘The Studio’ in 1932, “From a proof in the possession of the artist.”
The following text is from a ‘blog’ published in Reach plc’s ‘In Your Area’ on the anniversary of the official opening of the bridge.
On this day 24th May in 1883 the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City was opened to traffic after 14 years of construction. It connects the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn and was the first fixed crossing spanning the East River. Its designer Prussian-born engineer John Augustus Roebling did not live to see its opening, while conducting measurements for the bridge, a ferry crushed Roebling’s foot. He contracted tetanus as a result of the wounds and died. At its 1883 dedication it was given the official name ‘New York and Brooklyn Bridge,’ although also referred to as the ‘Great East River Bridge’ and the ‘Great East River Suspension Bridge.’ However, early as 1867 the ‘Brooklyn Daily Eagle’ had first referred to the project as the ‘Brooklyn Bridge.’ In 1898 Brooklyn become a part of New York City and in 1915 the name of the bridge was officially changed to the ‘Brooklyn Bridge.’ The world’s first steel-wire suspension-bridge the first person to cross the bridge was Emily Warren Roebling, the engineer’s widow. A panic on the bridge less than a week after its official opening led to the deaths of 12 people, with a further 36 seriously injured in the crush. To allay the fears of New Yorkers as to the strength of the bridge showman P.T. Barnum marched 21 elephants across the bridge in May of 1884. The parade of elephants being led by ‘Jumbo the Elephant’ (see my earlier post about Jumbo)
The Manhattan side of the Brooklyn Bridge is quite literally ‘rooted’ in the history of the United States for it rests upon land that was once the home of the first president George Washington.
Our illustration, ‘Under Brooklyn Bridge’ c.1932 is by C. R. W. Levinson from the Frontispiece Ltd collection