For many people a trip to New York is not complete without visiting the Brooklyn Bridge. The Brooklyn Bridge is a hybrid cable-stayed/suspension bridge in New York City and is one of the oldest bridges of either type in the United States. Completed in 1883, it connects the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn by spanning the East River. It has a main span of 1,595.5 feet (486.3 m), and was the first steel-wire suspension bridge constructed. Since its opening, it has become an icon of New York City, and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1964 and a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark in 1972.
The Brooklyn Bridge that spans the river tying Manhattan Island to Brooklyn is truly a splendid monument. At the time it opened, and for several years, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world—50% longer than any previously built—and it has become a treasured landmark. Back in the 1800’s the aerodynamic wind tests for the bridges was unheard of, hence most of the bridges of that time have either collapsed or have been marked unsafe for use. The engineer who designed this, designed a bridge and truss system that was six times as strong as he thought it needed to be. Because of this, the Brooklyn Bridge is still standing when many of the bridges built around the same time have vanished into history and been replaced.
What makes this bridge and its story more interesting is the marvelous story around the construction of the bridge.
In 1863, an engineer named John Roebling was inspired by an idea for this spectacular bridge. However, bridge-building experts throughout the world felt that it was an impractical idea and told him to give it up. They felt that it was not an idea that was worth pursuing.
Roebling and his son, Washington (who was a young engineer at that time) were fairly convinced that the bridge could be built. The father son duo drew plans, made the needed calculations and came up with the model to construct the bridge. They dismissed the naysayers and started the construction with their crew.
A few days in to the construction John Roebling sustained a crush injury to his foot when a ferry pinned it against a piling. The injury turned out to be fatal and John succumbed to the injury a few days later. Around the same time, his son Washington came in contact with a depressing disease and that left Washington with permanent brain damage. As a result, Washington was unable to talk or walk.
What seemed to be the death knell for the project was averted because of the unbridled enthusiasm of Washington Roebling. While the disease did cripple him, it was not able to douse his burning desire to complete the bridge. He got his wife involved in the construction of the bridge, developed a code for communicating with her, went through the plans and designs again and again and worked with mission till the bridge got completed.
Here is what Wikipedia says about the tremendous effort the wife and Husband have put in .
Roebling conducted the entire construction from his apartment with a view of the work, designing and redesigning caissons and other equipment. He was aided by his wife Emily Warren Roebling who provided the critical written link between her husband and the engineers on site. Under her husband’s guidance, Emily studied higher mathematics, the calculations of catenary curves, the strengths of materials, bridge specifications, and the intricacies of cable construction. She spent the next 11 years assisting Washington Roebling, helping to supervise the bridge’s construction.
Faith in ones abilities and belief in oneself is extremely important for anyone to succeed. Many a times we believe in the ability to fail than in our ability to succeed. It’s important that we believe in ourselves and give our best. Success is just around the corner.
Believe and you are halfway there.