John Roebling had a dream.
He would build the world's longest bridge and he would build it in a new way. But his way was too new. It took 15 years to convince people it would work. And then, just as construction was to begin, John Roebling was killed in a freak accident.
That should have been the end of the story of The Brooklyn Bridge. Instead, it was the beginning. For John wasn't the only Roebling who could dream.
The Brooklyn Bridge is about a legendary feat of engineering and an extraordinary family. Through rare, historical photographs, informative diagrams, and powerful illustrations, we learn exactly how this magnificent bridge was designed and constructed. From the Roeblings, we learn of loyalty, courage, sacrifice, and commitment.
The Brooklyn Bridge is the story of a bridge across a great river and a bridge across generations, a bridge of stone and steel and one of the human spirit.
Wonders of the World series
The winner of numerous awards, this series is renowned for Elizabeth Mann's ability to convey adventure and excitement while revealing technical information in engaging and easily understood language. The illustrations are lavishly realistic and accurate in detail but do not ignore the human element. Outstanding in the genre, these books are sure to bring even the most indifferent young reader into the worlds of history, geography, and architecture.
"One of the ten best non-fiction series for young readers."
Elizabeth Mann has written nine Wonders of the World books, an award-winning series. She is former teacher in New York, holds an M.S.E. and is cofounder of Mikaya Press.
Alan Witschonke is the illustrator of four Wonders of the World books: The Brooklyn Bridge, Empire State Building, The Great Wall and Hoover Dam.
In the winter of 1852, John Roebling and his 15-year-old son, Washington, were riding a Fulton Ferry boat across the East River from New York to Brooklyn. The day was bitterly cold. The ferry inched along, bumping against huge chunks of ice. The trip seemed to take forever. John paced up and down the deck.
"This ferry just isn't good enough, Washington!" he exclaimed. "There should be a bridge here."
John Roebling was an engineer. His specialty was building bridges. As he looked across the East River, he could picture the bridge that he wanted there. He knew that it would be the most important one he would ever build.
For years after that, John tried to convince people that his plan for a bridge across the East River was a good one. Many liked the idea, especially those who lived in Brooklyn. They knew that as long as they had to depend on ferry boats to reach New York, Brooklyn would never become an important city. But most people thought it was impossible to bridge the wide and powerful river.
John knew it would be difficult. There were many problems to solve. The bridge would have to be strong enough to withstand the swift currents and powerful winds of the East River. It could not get in the way of the hundreds of boats that traveled on the river every day. It had to be so high that the masts of tall sailing ships could easily pass under it. And it had to be long. The East River was nearly half a mile wide at that point. But John also knew about a type of bridge that could solve all these problems. It was called a suspension bridge.