She Was One Of The Most Influential People In The Construction Of The Brooklyn Bridge, Overseeing The Completion Of The Project After Her Husband Became Ill And Ultimately Passed Away

TTstudio - - illustrative purposes only

After graduating college in NYC, I spent a lot of time in Brooklyn and fell in love with the historical and communal borough. Brooklyn is often most recognized by one of the most famous structures in New York City – the Brooklyn Bridge.

Did you know that a woman was among the most influential people in ensuring the Brooklyn Bridge was built correctly and finished?

That woman was Emily Roebling, wife of engineer Washington Roebling, who, after his passing, worked hard to make sure his final project was completed.

The construction of the Brooklyn Bridge had a horrible start. John, who designed the bridge, as he is famous for designing wire rope suspension bridges, was taking a look at the construction site in June 1869 when his foot was crushed by a ferry in Lower Manhattan.

Sadly, three weeks after the incident, John died from tetanus. After his death, the person in charge of overseeing the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge was his oldest son, Washington Roebling.

Washington worked on the Brooklyn Bridge for three years and made a lot of progress, with a lot of anticipation building for its opening. Then, he was diagnosed with caisson disease, also known as decompression sickness, from diving into the East River to build the bridge.

Washington’s illness led him to be slightly paralyzed and bed-bound and unable to oversee the final phases of construction on the bridge, and that’s when his wife, Emily, came in.

Emily and Washington lived in Brooklyn Heights. They had been married since 1865 and had one son together. After Washington fell ill in 1872, she knew she needed to help him make sure the complex and difficult bridge was completed.

Constantly running back and forth between her Brooklyn home and the bridge’s construction site, Emily wore many hats between 1872 and 1883. Not only did she help nurse Washington while he was ill and care for their son and home, but she also assisted him in overseeing the bridge’s construction without physically seeing it.

TTstudio – – illustrative purposes only

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