Brooklyn Museum of Art Brooklyn Bridge Build-a-Bridge Super Structures Book   BROOKLYN BRIDGE
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August 1876

10,000 people watched from below as master mechanic E.F. Farrington made the first crossing of the Brooklyn Bridge. Workers from both sides of the bridge pulled the wire rope to get him across.

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 This photo was taken from the top of the Brooklyn anchorage. It shows the entry onto the footbridge that workers used to get from one side of the bridge to the other. ROLL OVER the photo to read the rules for crossing on the footbridge. The "carrier wheel" in the upper left of the photo is used to pull the wire across to build the cables.

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Here is a view of the steel links used in the anchor chains that hold the bridge cables to the anchorages. Shortly after this photo was taken, these chains were securely encased in several more courses of stone that capped the anchorage.

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May 1883

 The day the Brooklyn Bridge opened for the first time was a proud moment for the people of Brooklyn and New York. There was a huge celebration. Visitors from all over the country, including the President and the Governor of New York, came to attend the festivities. All the hotels in were full! Businesses closed down for part of the day and in the evening there were fireworks. Some of these events are memorialized in paintings, stories, and poems. Today, the Brooklyn Bridge continues to be a source of inspiration to artists, photographers, and writers.



A caisson is the base of a tower on a bridge. It acts as a "foot" on a bridge and rests in the riverbank to support the weight of the tower and to keep it from sinking into the sand. The caisson for the Brooklyn Bridge was built of wood beams, covered in sheet metal, then sealed with tar to be water-proof.

The foundation on a bridge is the part of the tower that is submerged underwater on top of the caisson.

An anchorage is a large, very stable stone structure on either side of a bridge. Cables on a bridge are attached to each side, and the weight of the anchorages keep them in place.

The stays are rigid diagonal cables attached to the suspenders to keep them spaced and stretched evenly.

Suspenders are the wire cables that hang from the main cables of a suspension bridge. These are attached to the roadbed and hold it up.

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Connecting Brooklyn and Manhattan What's a Suspension Bridge? Construction Countdown Explore More Explore More