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Brooklyn Bridge Forever: A Monument in Stone and Steel

Brooklyn Bridge Forever: A Monument in Stone and Steel.  A lecture by John B. Manbeck.

With Brooklyn almost surrounded by water, escape to Manhattan became an early priority. While settlers dreamed of bridges, such as the fantasy Rainbow Bridge, ferries proved more practical. Until John Roebling, an engineer, appeared. After years of practice on aqueducts and bridges - Cincinnati and Niagara - he planned a perfect bridge to cross the East River. When death took him, his son, Washington, assumed the responsibility, assisted by his wife after he became injured. In 1883, a stone and steel work of art opened to the public, allowing rapid transportation between Brooklyn and New York. While New York alters itself daily, the Brooklyn Bridge has stood against time, a fitting memorial to the Roebling family.

This presentation will map the development and construction of the Brooklyn Bridge and show how 19th century pioneers overcame natural hindrances to create a work of art, "The Eighth Wonder of the Modern World." What problems did the Roeblings face and why did the construction take over 10 years longer than anticipated? What does a "hand-made bridge" offer contemporary New Yorkers? The talk will be illustrated with a Power Point presentation taken from archival and contemporary sources.

A grant program of the New York Humanities Council.  Through this program, the Council distributes federal funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities directly to notable projects created by museums, libraries, historical societies, and other cultural and educational organizations.

Time: 2:00 pm