We’re accustomed to seeing the renowned suspension bridge on the skyline, but the planet had never seen anything like the Brooklyn Bridge when it was opened 127 years ago. The globe’s first steel-wire suspension bridge is the subject of a number of remarkable stories.
1. Regardless of the fact that the Brooklyn Bridge has never been on the market, it has been sold.
It’s one of the most famous scams of all time, and the phrase “you could sell him the Brooklyn Bridge” has become a metaphor for someone who is easily duped.
George C. Parker, who claimed to sell the Brooklyn Bridge up to twice a week, is believed to be the mastermind behind the con. Before authorities stopped them and informed them that they had been duped, some of the buyers attempted to set up tolls.
Parker also “sold” Grant’s Tomb by posing as Ulysses S. Grant’s grandson. He was sentenced to life in jail at the end of the trial. Parker is regarded as one of the most accomplished con artists in American history, as well as one of the most skilled hoaxers.[Source]
2. A Cold War bunker has been discovered in Brooklyn Bridge.
Employees from the City Department of Transportation were performing maintenance on the bridge on Wednesday when they discovered the stash on the top floor of a three-story compartment inside the bridge’s base, according to agency spokesperson Kay Sarlin.
Some of the canisters were labeled with two dates that are well-known in Cold War history: 1957, the year the Soviet Union deployed the first satellite into orbit, and 1962, the year of the Cuban missile crisis, when the two superpowers came dangerously near to war.
Empty water drums and medical supplies like tourniquet bandages and an intravenous drip were among the items in the cache. There were also cans of high-calorie crackers with the recommendation to consume 10,000 calories per person per day. The crackers were supposed to be destroyed after ten years, according to the instructions, yet they were substantially intact. [Source]
3. Is there a curse on the Brooklyn Bridge? You undoubtedly believe that if your surname is Roebling.
The bridge was built by the Roeblings, who included John, his son Washington, and Washington’s wife Emily. John was the first victim of “Roebling’s Curse,” as the workers dubbed it. The older Roebling’s foot was smashed against a piling by a ferry while surveying for the project.
The toes had to be removed, and he died of a horrible tetanus illness caused by the wounds. Washington was incapacitated by decompression sickness, often known as The Bends, shortly after taking the helm. Because the reason was not well recognized at the time, many undersea employees were affected.
Emily Washington, Washington’s wife, took over at that point. Emily was critical to the bridge’s completion, yet at the time, giving a woman the position of “Chief Engineer” was unheard of. Even if Emily was able to avoid the curse, this does not mean it was lifted… [Source]
4. P.T. Barnum, ever the publicity seeker, saw a chance to advertise his firm while demonstrating that the Brooklyn Bridge was in perfect working order.
Phineas Taylor Barnum was an American showman, businessman, and politician best known for pushing famous hoaxes and co-founding the Barnum & Bailey Circus with James Anthony Bailey (1871–2017).
Barnum staged a 21-elephant procession a year after the stampede, with Jumbo, his famed 6.5-ton elephant, as the mascot. His assumption was that if the bridge could readily accommodate Jumbo and his friends, it could easily accommodate as many pedestrians as New York could throw at it. Barnum had already offered Jumbo the opportunity to open the bridge, but he had been denied down. [Source]
5. On May 19, 1885, Robert Emmet Odlum was the first person to jump into the East River from the Brooklyn Bridge. One of his objectives for doing so was to show that people did not die merely by falling through the air, thereby encouraging others to jump from a burning building into a net.
On May 19, Odlum hosted a gathering of friends aboard Paul Boyton’s “Ship,” which included boxer Paddy Ryan, wrestler William Muldoon, and actor Henry E. Dixey. Paul Boyton afterwards claimed to have learnt that Odlum had gone to confession and received communion in the Church of the Redemptorist Fathers that morning. Odlum’s plans had been reported to the police.
Odlum brought two acquaintances onto the bridge in a cab, James Haggart and a Mr. Cluss, so Haggart might deceive the cops by appearing to be the jumper. With a rescue swimmer hired by Odlum on board, a tugboat carrying spectators for the leap sailed to within a hundred yards of the bridge.
At 5:35 p.m., Odlum leaped from the Brooklyn Bridge.
Odlum jumped into a strong breeze, which seemed to turn him somewhat in the air. As a result, he struck the water at an angle, using his feet and right hip to do so. Boyton swam to Odlum in the water when the rescue swimmer failed to act.
Odlum was lowered into a boat and transported to the tug’s galley, where Ryan and Muldoon aided with resuscitation efforts. Odlum regained consciousness for a brief moment, wondering, “Is this the end? …Did I make a successful leap?”. He died at 6:18 p.m., before Muldoon and Jere Dunn could seek an ambulance. Odlum’s body was transported to the offices of New York City Coroner William H. Kennedy in an undertaker’s wagon. [Source]