The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the oldest suspension bridges in the United States. Completed in 1883, it connects the New York City boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn by spanning the East River. At 5,989 feet (1825 m), it was the longest suspension bridge in the world from its opening to 1903, the first steel-wire suspension bridge.
Originally referred to as the New York and Brooklyn Bridge, it was dubbed the Brooklyn Bridge in an 1867 letter to the editor of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, and formally so named by the city government in 1915. Since its opening, it has become an iconic part of the New York skyline. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1964.
The Brooklyn Bridge opened to great fanfare in May 1883. The names of John Roebling, Washington Roebling, and Emily Warren Roebling are inscribed on the structure as its builders.
Construction began on January 3, 1870. The Brooklyn Bridge was completed thirteen years later and was opened for use on May 24, 1883. The Brooklyn Bridge might not have been built had it not been for the assistance of Emily Warren Roebling, who provided the critical written link between her husband, Washington Roebling (the Chief Engineer), and engineers on-site. Most history books cite Washington Roebling's father John Roebling and Washington Roebling as the bridge’s builders. Early into construction, however, John Roebling’s foot slipped into a group of pylons from the shake of an incoming ferry. This badly crushed his toes, causing those toes to be amputated, leaving him incapacitated; he later died of an infection related to his injury and leaving his son, Washington Roebling, in charge of the bridge. The actual construction started under the younger Roebling. Not long after taking charge of the bridge, Washington Roebling suffered a paralyzing injury as well, the result of decompression sickness. This condition plagued many of the underwater workers, in different capacities, as the condition was relatively unknown at the time and in fact was first called "caisson disease" by the project physician Dr. Andrew Smith.