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On this date in 1883, after 14 years and 27 deaths, the Brooklyn Bridge over the East River is opened, connecting New York and Brooklyn for the first time in history. Thousands of residents of Brooklyn and Manhattan Island turned out to witness the dedication ceremony, which was presided over by President Chester A. Arthur and New York Governor Grover Cleveland. Designed by the late John A. Roebling, the Brooklyn Bridge was the largest suspension bridge ever built to that date.

In 1867 Roebling started design work on the bridge. However, on June 28, 1869, at Fulton Ferry, he was standing at the edge of a dock, thinking about the location where the bridge would be built, when his foot was crushed by an arriving ferry. His toes were amputated and he refused further medical treatment, saying he was going to cure his foot by “water therapy”. Water therapy was to continuously pour water over the wound.

He should have remained an engineer and forgot about this short-lived medical career because his condition deteriorated and he died on July 22, 1869, of tetanus at the home of his son on Hicks Street, in Brooklyn Heights. It was just 24 days after the accident that Roebling is buried in the Riverview Cemetery in Trenton, New Jersey.

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