Brooklyn Bridge Opens

Lithograph depicting fireworks on the opening night of the Brooklyn Bridge
Lithograph depicting fireworks on the opening night of the Brooklyn Bridge

Historical Context

US President Chester A. Arthur and New York Governor Grover Cleveland (himself a future president) turned out in New York to officially open the Brooklyn Bridge across the East River, connecting New York and Brooklyn for the first time. The bridge is often featured in wide shots in television shows and movies set in New York, and is an iconic piece of American architecture.

At the time the Brooklyn Bridge was an engineering marvel and the largest suspension bridge ever built. Designed by John A. Roebling, who died in 1869 and whose son took over construction of the project, it was built between 1870 and 1883. Construction was a prolonged affair due to numerous controversies over the relatively novel design of the bridge and accidents such as damaging fires.

The bridge was originally designed to carry horse and carriages; it has been renovated and expanded several times since its construction. The bridge had a dramatic effect on New York history by connecting the two cities; Brooklyn eventually merged with New York formally in 1898.

Drawing Info


Artist: Unknown
Location drawn: Brooklyn, New York, USA

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Related Events

  • 1870-01-03 Construction begins on New York's Brooklyn Bridge; completed May 24, 1883
  • 1883-05-24 Brooklyn Bridge opened by President Arthur and NY Governor Cleveland
  • 1883-05-30 Stampede caused by a rumor that the Brooklyn Bridge was going to collapse kills 12

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