Photo of the Week: Brooklyn Bridge

[Glimpses of Brooklyn], circa 1894, V1986.12.1.4; Glimpses of Brooklyn viewbooks, ARC.227; Brooklyn Historical Society.

[Glimpses of Brooklyn], circa 1894, V1986.12.1.4; Glimpses of Brooklyn viewbooks, ARC.227; Brooklyn Historical Society.

The Brooklyn Bridge is one of my favorite Brooklyn landmarks, and fortunately for me, the bridge is just a few blocks from the BHS office. Pictured above is the Brooklyn Bridge in 1894, with just a few women and one man walking along the pedestrian bridge. Today, nearly 4,000 people walk the bridge every day. Can you imagine experiencing the bridge without the crowds?

When the bridge opened to the public in 1883, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world, and remained that way until 1903, when the Williamsburg Bridge surpassed it. At the time, it connected two separate cities (Brooklyn and New York City), which weren’t consolidated until 1898, four years after this image was taken. To learn more about Brooklyn Bridge history, be sure to check out the Brooklyn Waterfront History website, developed by BHS and Brooklyn Bridge Park.

This image is from the Glimpses of Brooklyn viewbooks collection. Viewbooks, also called souvenir albums or view albums, are books that contain commercially published groups of photographs depicting a place, activity, or event. This is the third image in Glimpses of Brooklyn souvenir album, printed by Mercantile Illustrating Co. The collection includes 25 black and white non-photographic prints of photographs with scenes of Brooklyn, including Prospect Park, the Brooklyn Bridge, Green-wood Cemetery, and Brooklyn Heights. To learn more about the viewbooks from this collection, check out the finding aid here.

Interested in seeing more photos from BHS’s collection? Visit our online image gallery, which includes a selection of our images. Interested in seeing even more historic Brooklyn images? Visit our Brooklyn Visual Heritage website here. To search BHS’s entire collection of images, archives, maps, and special collections visit BHS’s Othmer Library Wed-Sat, 1:00-5:00 p.m. photos@brooklynhistory.org

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