Fourteen tons of fireworks illuminated the New York night on May 24, 1883, to celebrate the completion of one of the greatest engineering feats of the Gilded Age—the Brooklyn Bridge. Billed as the “Eighth Wonder of the World,” the longest suspension bridge ever built at the time spanned the East River to link the twin cities of New York and Brooklyn.
But, as that day’s edition of the Brooklyn Eagle pronounced, “to every human undertaking there seems of necessity to be a dark side.” In the case of the Brooklyn Bridge it was the lives lost during its 14-year construction.
At least two dozen workers, mostly immigrants, died in the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge. The project also took the life of the Brooklyn Bridge’s designer and left his son crippled. To learn more, click here to read this new piece I wrote for History.com.