The Brooklyn Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge: The History of America's Most Famous Bridges
*Includes pictures *Includes accounts of the bridges' construction written by those who worked on the projects *Includes bibliographies for further reading *Includes a table of contents "[A] perpetual monument that will make this city's name ring around the world and renew the magical fame which the Golden Gate enjoyed in the days of '49." - S.F. Examiner editorial, March 24, 1925 New York City has countless landmarks and tourist spots, but few are as old or as associated with the city as the Brooklyn Bridge, the giant suspension bridge that spans nearly 1,600 feet as it connects lower Manhattan to Brooklyn. Indeed, the bridge is so old that Manhattan and Brooklyn represented the largest and third largest cities in America at the time of its construction, and the East River posed a formidable enough challenge that taking a ferry across could be dangerous. Originally known as the New York and Brooklyn Bridge and then later as the East River Bridge, the iconic bridge wasn't formally dubbed the Brooklyn Bridge until about 30 years after it was completed in the early 1880s. As the first steel suspension bridge built in America, it represented an enormous engineering feat that claimed the lives of several workers, including its original designer, but by the time it was finished, the Brooklyn Bridge towered nearly 300 feet above the water at over 80 feet wide. With those dimensions, it was over 50% larger than any suspension bridge to date. From its inception, the Brooklyn Bridge has been celebrated as one of the things that makes New York City unique. President Chester Arthur attended its opening, and P.T. Barnum famously walked Jumbo the Elephant across the bridge as a publicity stunt. Yet despite its age and the fact that so many contemporary bridges have fallen into disrepair or were destroyed, the Brooklyn Bridge continues to be not just an instantly identifiable landmark in New York City but also a crucially valuable one that is still used by thousands of people a day. Likewise, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco is one of the modern world's engineering marvels. The giant suspension bridge spans the San Francisco Bay, with a length of over 1.5 miles, a height of nearly 750 feet, and a width of around 100 feet. While it is a beautiful and instantly recognizable landmark, the Golden Gate Bridge was also a very practical one born of necessity. After the California Gold Rush helped turn San Francisco into a destination site, connecting people on both sides of the beautiful Golden Gate Strait became vitally important. There was a consistent ferry service in the area, but the advent of automobiles made a bridge even more imperative. At the same time, no one in the world had ever successfully built a bridge as long as this one would be, and indeed, no one else would for another three decades after the Golden Gate Bridge opened. Given its size, it should come as little surprise that the Golden Gate Bridge was one of the most ambitious and expensive projects of its age. Indeed, it would take nearly 20 years from the time the bridge was proposed to its grand opening, and it cost hundreds of millions of dollars (the equivalent of several billion today). When it finally opened in 1937, Joseph Strauss, the man most responsible for the bridge, remarked, "This bridge needs neither praise, eulogy nor encomium. It speaks for itself. We who have labored long are grateful. What Nature rent asunder long ago, man has joined today." The Brooklyn Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge: The History of America's Most Famous Bridges chronicles the story of how one of America's most famous bridges was built. Along with pictures of important people, places, and events, you will learn about the Golden Gate Bridge like never before, in no time at all.
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