Saturday, March 30, 2013

Bridge Building

Eli grew up in Brooklyn and one of the things he particularly was fond of, other than Flatbush carrots, was biking down to and across the Brooklyn Bridge.  The story of the Roeblings and especially Emily Warren Roebling at Scandalous Women is worth reading

I’ve always found the story of Emily Warren Roebling inspiring, because it’s a story of how a woman came into her own and learned what she was capable of through adversity.  It’s also a deeply moving love story. When Washington Roebling was unable to continue hands-on work as chief engineer, his wife Emily worked tirelessly to relay his wishes to the workers, and to keep the vision that father and son had worked long and hard to achieve.   This was during the late 19th century, when the idea of a woman being able to understand complex mathematics or science, was unheard of.  Many men(and women) believed that women’s brains weren’t developed enough or that they were too weak. The idea that a woman could be even partly responsible forbuilding one of the world’s marvels was just too ridiculous to contemplate.  Without Emily’s perseverance and faith, Washington Roebling might have been replaced, and the history of the Brooklyn Bridge would have turned out much differently.


James Wimberley said...

Solomon Tredwell was the contractor for for the complex construction of the railway through the Western Ghats east of Bombay. When he died in 1859 two months after starting work, his widow Alice took over responsibility for the contract and saw it through to completion in 1863 (partly from England). With all due respect to Mrs. Roebling, this was a far bigger project than the Brooklyn bridge; the stretch has 26 tunnels totalling over 2 miles, and eight viaducts. Hats off to both ladies.

David B. Benson said...

mid 19th century

early 20th century

Martin Vermeer said...

early 19th century

Jeffrey Davis said...

"On Friday noon, July the twentieth, 1714, the finest bridge in all Peru broke and precipitated five travelers into the gulf below."

The photograph reminds me of The Bridge of San Luis Rey.

So I went back and re-read the opening and for the first time heard how important the date was to the story.