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Brooklyn Bridge Restored & Stories

Season 8, Ep. 182

Shortly after the American North won the Civil War, construction on the East River bridge was started. Tammany Hall and graft controlled NY City and State, Ulysses S. Grant had just been elected President, and the German-immigrant and bridge designer/builder, who conceived the plan for the bridge, had died. Work on the Bridge took 13 years and up to 40 men died -- mostly immigrants. The cathedral-sized, wooden caissons which allowed workers to dig out the bottom of the East River used pressurized air, resulting in debilitating Caisson Disease-- otherwise known as the "bends."

The Brooklyn Bridge was opened in 1883 and quickly became an American icon--a towering structure reflecting a sense of national pride and progress -- a reality, in part, built on greed and death.

We spoke with Sarah Rosenblatt, an Architectural Conservationist who is working on restoring the original look of the Brooklyn Bridge -- and with Prof. Richard Haw who has written several books on the Bridge. His most recent book -- Engineering America: The Life and Times of John A. Roebling.

Recording at Gebhard's Beer Culture Bar in Manhattan.

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