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I i r% fT^rvrTtr\i(.i il E Jut & v %ll II 1 I?* .?nInXv^ ? 'S! SS '?' I II i ' lv B 1 ?^^^m I "?f' i 1 W S^vN'V'?V.^ M f| 1 JV 11 & va B ^f. ?? ft . 1 II ... Il , ? : '?>?? -'.?~v - 4 ?f^jT^ ? i^JUwU. | K Fil ? By Arnold Prince A FEW days ago a youthful Westerner ? well, he isn't exactly youthful, but in pome mysterious fashion he manages not to grow up?burst into the office and gasped : "They're taking Brooklyn Bridge apart!" He sat in a chair to col? lect himself. "Brooklyn Bridge!" he emphasized. " After forty - five years!" In spite of the fact that he was addressing a group of Manhattanese who had grown somewhat callous to Brooklyn Bridge, condescendingly looking upon it as something too closely identified with the borough of alarm clocks and rubber plants, he caused something of a sensation. "Actually?" inquired the stout member of the office, who thinks kindly of the Westerner and therefore takes him seriously some? times. "Taking the bridge apart?" Enthusiasm Wouldn't Down "Well, not exactly taking it apart," admitted the Westerner, a tiny wave of depression resulting from the concession to conservatism, "but they're taking out some of the bolls." IIis enthusiasm surged back at the thought of the bolts. "Been there forty years," he exclaimeJ. jubilantly. "Think"?in an awed voice?"how many persons have passed over the old bridge in that time!" One who is a native of the big city and does not know in what ven? eration Brooklyn Bridge is held by all outsiders?aii^l, truth to tell, by most natives?might find difficulty in appreciating the Westerner's agi? tation. But in any case, at least two of his statements require clear? ing up. In the first place, it is not forty five years since the bridge was fin? ished, but only thirty-seven. The span ?vas turned over to the public on May 24, 1883, and so the four decades will not be up until May 24, 1023. A tablet states, however, that it was dedicated in October, 1875. Paint to Cost $85.000 Nor, as intimated, is it true that the bridge is being taken apart. It is a fact that extensive alterations and repairs are being made, among the first, improvements decided upon being a reinforced floor along the entire length of the span and a new coat of paint. The painting alone will cost $85,000. Hew and there, too, sections of the steel work are being strength? ened, and the old bolts?they are actually pins?arc being replaced by new one?. The Westerner was greatly wrought up when he discovered the metal pieces being plucked from the venerable structure- sort of sever? ing the threads, you know, from among the old?hut let no one jump lo the conclusion that his is an isolated case. A walk across the span any day when the workers are at their tasks will show this is not the fact, Many stop to watch the riveters at work. In New York City rubber? necking is one of the recognized and established diversions, but there is something different about these ?.razor**. They see in these overalled figures not mere mechanics engaged in unscrewing nuts, repainting iron work and replacing boards, but votaries of a holy task performing sacred rites on an edifice, grown hallowed through the generations. "I Was There" The other day a graybeard paused in his walk and beckoned to one of the workers. The worker was in a group of others on a cord at the far side of the elevated rails, and it meant considerable trouble for him to cross over the narrow footpath to the middle roadway for pedes, trians, but he did it. Thus do th< mellowing influences of sentimenl and tradition exert themselves! "See you are making repair-,' orTered the graybeard. "Representing some iron com pany?" inquired the workingman eying the other suspiciously. "a\"o. Live in Brooklyn. I wa there when they opened this bridge ' "Yeh?" "Yes. Abo Hewitt made the speech. Fine speech. The Presi dent of the United States w 13 then and so was the Governor ind th< Mayor of \* w York Brooklyi didn't belong to New Vori; then, you know and a lot o^ people." "Must have been a great sight." "Yes. You born in Brooklyn'."' "No." The workingman showed a trace of uneasiness. "Kansas. But 1 it's a great old bridge," he hastened to assert. "Yes?" "Yes. Phsaw, none of them other bridges can compare with it even yet." "Can it be possible?" The Same Steel Pieces "Sure See them big steel cross pieces underneath? Them things that support the rails, you know? Well, them has been there ever since the bridge was put up and they're as good as ever. No, I'm not kiddin'. You take them same pieces on the Manhattan Bridge, now, and they're three or four times as heavy and not a bit better." "Really?" "Sure. Say. I been workin' on bridges all my life and 'f I don't know a bridge no one does. It's a great old bridge, I'll tell the world." "I'm glad to hear you say ro," said the gruybeard. He shook hands solemnly with the mechanic. "Too bad you weren't born in Brooklyn," he called back as he moved away. "Another of thorn Brooklyn Bridge nuts," remarked the ironworker as he started back for his aerie. "But she's a good old bridge at that." She is. Grover Whalen, win ought to know, seeing he is the Coni missiner of Plant, and Structures and therefore responsible for i lie condition of the structure, insist? most enthusiastically that she is swearing that just as soon as thai new floor is down, and a few of the bolts?pins?are tightened up or re? placed, she'll be as good as new. ?No Danger of Falling From time to time disturbing rumors have been heard that th< ancient link was about to fall down or was sagging dangerously in spots but each time the experts wen called upon to make an examinatioi they found, as much to their owi astonishment as that of any one else that the figure of speech was liter ally true. Brooklyn Bridge not only is per forming all the service original 1; set out for it, but is easily and safel; carrying a trafile several time greater than dreamed of by its wi',1 est protagonist. And assuredly it isn't losing it hold on the affections of the pcopl in the provinces. The other day?it was the hou when the 9 a. m. office employee verc jamming Nassau Street in thei rush to get to their places of en ) loyment on time;?rushingthousami in the downtown district were halte by a couple of dusky honeymooner who were too absorbed in their hap piness to notice the ravages the were indicting upon the traffii They were darkies of pronounce Southern type and apparently i fairly,prosperous circumstances, ft each was adorned by the habiliment which to those cf their kind bespea the height of fa.shion, good taste an brilliant color. The bridegroom, who was hup ??nd fairly beaming with newly wo marital happiness had on a sky-bh suit with slanting pockets vivid ?set off by glistening tan shoes ar a blazing red necktie. Clear From Alabama The bride glanced up at him fro time to time, love and adoratio'1 i her eyes. "Yessah," admitted the giant 1 a pedestrian whose heart was s?nre by so much happiness and ?ngag? him in conversation. "All the W? fum ol' Alabam." "Out a little early for sightseein aren't you?" pressed the pedestria "Yessah, boss," granted tin' gn.r "Yessah, but nie 'nd mab wif? -th yeh is man wife?is aimin' t<> spei the day on Brooklyn Bridge. K you all please direct me 'nd mi wife as to the wheahabouts ?>f tl: yeh Brooklyn Bridge'.'" The pedestrian could and did, i though it meant making him a f? minutes late at the office. A great bridge with a grant h tory. There may be some who c?->> to the city and fail to visit. Con? Island. Sonic may even neglect climb the dimly lit stairs to t crown of the ?Statue of Liberty, -i doubtless ? few fail to attend a p< formanoe at the Hippodrome. But who is there who conns fr? afar and neglects to make at \?? one pilgrimage to Brooklyn Bridf. ?Seen on a misty day, what fail _ sight is there than its towers of masonry risiag above the surround? ing vapors? And what more Deauti ful than Manhattan seen from the center of the span, when darkness steals on and the myriads >f elec? tric lights conven the huge down? town structures into frail edifices of incandescents and magic? It? Utilitarian Side And yet, as .*? brief it shall be very brief, for statistics, somehow don belong in this picture?survey of the figures will show, the bridge also has a pretty fan- utilitarian record. In UM s the R. R. T. furnished figures to the Public Service Com? mission showing that trolley cars had crosse,] ii1(, bridge 1,000,000 Brooklyn Bridge from the Docks times that year and thai in nddifion there had been 800,000 trips be? tween Manhattan and Brooklyn by elevated trains. As it is the practice to take the count of ira Hie on all the city bridges between October 15 and November 15, when travel 's con idered normal, the ligures for L920 10 the present rime are not \ ?"., com? piled, but there are others which will lie found helpful. Whereas, in 1912 only 3 913 vehicles used 'ie two roadw, ys of rriIEY span;? on (lie bridge at midnight?and also all the ?* hours from noon till then the bridge daily, 6,605 passed over them ?? a a: two . fo ir hours, in 1919. In 191 ' y cars carried 1 19, P93 persi m a d iy, and in 1919, 130, 356. Ele1 lie ;' 11 ofl' a little la it year as compared with 1912, but even so an average of 106,200 i ossi d by ti roui e bei v, e? n morn? ing and eve The V;.io:iV Population ? - ; - ? ti <-a ? i hat by ; i ey ? a ?,-.-- a a lone 36,357, d the bridge in VI'.'. add d to thes : the un er of those who walk across or han 6,600 motor ear i and v tous daily it is coi I ha i throng equal t( the entire population of the United States crosses Brooklyn Bridge every year. There are no records of those who \ walk across daily?Manhattanward in the morning and Brooklynward in the evening, or perhaps on a quick i round trip during the lunch hour? but that the total is large can be de? termined by any one who will take the trouble to watch the passersby during the busy hours. Rarely, when the weather is pleas rnt, but some are to be seen loiter? ing along the railings. To the south ' can be seen the ships passing out to sea, and to the north an edge of the New York navy yard and the other g^eat spans gird'ng the river. Some? times an artist will be seen making , sketches, and on warm summer eve ? j ings the benches are never quite free of the silhouetted forms of sweethearts watching the craft slip? ping along the waters. Thirteen Years in Building For the benefit of those stati - tically inclined it may be added that the bridge took more than thirteen years to build, that it cost more than $::,">,000,000, and that until more modern achievements came along it was generally looked upon?ir ? Brooklyn, certainly, if nowhere else , ?as the eighth wonder of the wor'.d \ Looking back <>ver the newspapers ; cf the day when the bridge was opened to traffic one may get a vivic impression how the span was looker; upon at that time, and abo as to.th? source of that sentiment and affec? tion which all but converted th< : structure into a national monument Jl must be remembered that when 1 this marvel of engineering came inte I being there were only 50,000.00( ' persons in the United States, bul ; 5,000,000 in the entire State of New .York and only 2.000,000 in New York and Brooklyn combined. Nothing so imposing and wonder ful had been seen in the Unite* States and at but few places in th< \ world. President Arthur himself jour neyed from Washington to Brooklyn ro attend the ceremonies, and it wai .an impressive spectacle indeed whet j he and Governor Cleveland, escorte? ! by the 7th Regiment, walked acrosi the structure. Looking back over the newspaper? one may observe scores of adver I tisements inviting* "ladies and stran gers making the delightful tri] across the East River" to seek res ? and relaxation after the unprece dented experience in the refresh ment parlors open on that occasion Cities Made Holiday New York and Brooklyn both de i clared a holiday; all the exchange ; were closed, as were the courts an public offices; buildings were decc ! rated with flags and bunting, an there were several imposing recer tions, the most impressive bein that at the home of Colonel Wast ington A. Roebling, the chief er gineer, in Brooklyn, which was at tended by the President. Virtually the only public institv, tion open for business on that grea and glorious day was Castle Garde* which, of course, had to take car j of the daily ingress of immigrant: never dreaming that as time went o it would be converted into an aqiu rium and a headquarters for strany fish. In Brooklyn Mayor Setli Low in? troduced an innovation in the shape of row? of gas jets along the roof of his house on Columbia Heights, and Mayor Edson of New York was also doing everything possible^ to make the day a success. True, there were some in Manhattan who looked with disfavor '?pon the bridge, although scoffing at the suggestion that any number ?f person? would be in? duced thereby to move to Brooklyn, but these critics were in the minor? ity. There was an effort to stir up a scandal over the fact that the celebration was so arranged as to take place on Queen Victoria's birth? day, but the agitation died away when it was explained that the date selected was not the result of a pro British plot. V National Event Irani twenty-one to one hundred guns were tired; special trains brought visitors from many of the big cities of the country; the! spe-eches that were mad" filled pagcf in the newspapers; all over V, A United States note was taker. ?' ] importance c>f the e\ The Tribune's Account In the evening 'here was a spe. cial fireworks display, which wa ; thus describ? d by an observer on th| roof of Ti:*' New York Tribuna Building: "From the roof ' ?? Tribune Buildi 5 -.vuj as a dreai So cleir had been '. ..= >t,;i light enoug ? the city -./? u. meed 1 oxhi- | b'ltioi.?. (';? , i out ' of the '?' ige be? gun to grow ?nd a mj i iad of g Bicker? ings in a.' eitle? i an:-"ad oui \ ha?e | rap the outlinea o ' oi r< ?? a c< a partridges, preat span. red and! green erald? lashed nit oni ' and a ? - white, blue, .. red up -?a; - lea of ? :.?? river. Fir? ? . led lazily over the ?* ibitiosi high er regions and, exp?o ling there, dropped gol len stai a ed the sky with -' For twenty year , until 1903 to Le exact, when the Williarasfaf Bridge was opened, Brooklyn Bridge remained the onb span across the East River. It would take a lot of print to give the history of ; .ins old link. A crea:: n .it took hold of the romantic like a fever. No theatrical pr< ?iealing with the danger-? at city was complete which did not show somewhere in the scenic distance a reproduction of the span. In the shadow of the stone approaches or underneath the wharfing would be shown a pirates' retreat, where the beautiful heroine inevitably becam? a prisoner. Many persons sougl.i to incorporate the glory of ?K bridge and their own by perform ing strange or dangerous dcedi t-pon it. Steve Brodie'? Leap ?Steve Brodie gained fame and fol tune by being the first ?to leap fror the bridge into the river and survivi and' he soon had several imitator: some of them successful and son' not. As it was considered the la: word in human daring to walk sen? Niagara Falls on a tight rope,' it was ultimate in courage tota one's self headlong from the lof' roadway into th< v ? crs benest and many atte These and otha doits help? spread the fame of the : rua'urea; what little~hamle1 in what renw corner of the country bul held sew of small boys a tul grow ups who thrilled over the stories these adventures? Then along came the stories oil possible collaps? of the bridge, this was tli - i"a a ructure its time, ?1 5 do.-; ni? tioi ?vas lool upon ib the g i of possi tragedies, and enough to til! mi volumes was w ri ject. Safer Than Ever Recently the reports of the weak? ened condition of the i"*idLr<* became so persistent that. Professor W. H. L'urr, for*twenty-three years pro? fesse)]* of civil engineering at ColaUB bia University, was n tained to mak? an inspection, il;.- r< ion was ?*& the structure actually was safer than when it was built, although 't? was taking can more trafic than h/id been intend Brooklyn Br ? al?ne in its field until the \\ i!liamsbttt| span was built, thai c***6 the Manhattan Bi .... t > be f?-' j lowed by the Queen-?'.-rough ??**. Heil Gate bridges. All are mere modern than the first, none hasW* the same veneration, and no Brook? lyn Bridge fan can be found *'^? will admit th it any of them is any? where teat* a- beautiful. FinfUy? in 1908, the firs, of the cubwsy trains was placed in operation?*"' cween the two : Notv, ithstandii tit ions, howev? lyn Brid?e continues to 1 - own, and fren, all indications will still be doing business at the eld stand until It** after the present generation aW-* been gathered unto, its father?..