The famous Brooklyn Bridge, which spreads between the East River and connects Manhattan with Brooklyn, is a historical landmark which has, over time, become a rather romantic spot for lovers. However, what many people don’t know is that the Bridge itself has a romantic love story embedded in it.
Apparently, as the story goes, the Bridge was built with the efforts of two lovers who devoted most of their time in the completion of this bridge. This remarkable contribution was made by a woman who continued to invest her energies in the construction of the bridge even when her husband had fallen sick.
The Bridge is a hybrid one as it has cable wires being used for suspension, and in 1883, the construction of the bridge was completed. Since it spans around the east river, therefore it is the longest suspension bridge on earth at this point. Traditionally, suspension bridges used to be constructed using ropes back then. However, Brooklyn Bridge was the first one to use steel wires for its suspension, which obviously made it more durable and timeless.
The Devotion of Emily Warren
As per the remarks of Congressman Hewitt at the dedication ceremony of the Bridge, its successful construction had been made possible by the efforts and devotion of Emily Warren, a woman who is now an inspiration for many people.
However, many people today remain unaware of the person and also the kind of efforts she made in the construction of the bridge, hence a refresher course is certainly necessary.
Emily was born in 1843 in the city of New York. She had eleven siblings and was enrolled in Georgetown Visitation Academy located in the area of Washington, DC. It was the efforts of her brother which made her enrollment possible since at that time education for girls was not considered a primary concern when it came to social development.
A New Technique
Emily and Roebling, her husband, met while she was still in school. Roebling was an engineering officer in Washington.
After their marriage, Emily and her husband went to Europe to learn about the construction of bridges. One of the techniques which they learned in Europe was related to the use of caissons in the construction of bridges.
On their return to New York, they applied this technique in the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge. However, and unfortunately, many workers got sick from using caissons, and many eventually lost their lives after severe sickness.
In caisson disease, decompression sickness or bends occur which are similar to the ones that occur in scuba diving. In scuba diving, when a person returns to the surface quickly because of increased underwater pressure, nitrogen bubbles are formed in the bloodstream which can result in chronic pain. This can potentially result in death, as is what happened with the construction workers.
A Tragic Time
Unfortunately, Emily’s husband also caught caisson disease in 1870. He fell extremely ill and suffered from paralysis, losing his sense of hearing, sight, and speech. However, since this project was very dear to him, therefore Emily decided to take it forward.
The following thirteen years of her life were the toughest. She carried the burden of completing the project along with the responsibility of taking care of her sick husband and also their son.
She would spend all her morning time at construction sites, guiding the builders about her construction strategy. Her afternoons were spent in convincing the project personnel about the fact that the efforts of her husband had contributed immensely in the development of the bridge, and hence he should be named the Chief Engineer.
Essentially, it was Emily who had directed the entire project, but because of her insistence, her husband was named as the Chief Engineer of the project. At that time, women were not allowed to own any property, have the right to vote, or hold public office. Emily, however, was obviously outstanding in her abilities.
Her civil engineering skills were self-taught, and she had excellent analytical skills specifically those related to the construction of Bridges. After the construction of the Bridge was complete, she wrote an essay by the name of A Wife’s Disabilities. The book advocated an increase in women’s rights in the region and discouraged discretionary practices at the workplace.