The Brooklyn Bridge was built for pedestrian and horse-drawn carriage traffic and was not open for cars until the 1950s ! Opened on May 24, 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge was the first fixed crossing of the East River. It was also the longest suspension bridge in the world at the time of its opening, with a main span of 1,595.5 feet and a deck 127 ft above mean high water. The span was originally called the New York and Brooklyn Bridge or the East River Bridge but was officially renamed the Brooklyn Bridge in 1915.
Proposals for a bridge between the then-separate cities of Brooklyn and New York had been suggested as early as 1800. In February 1867, the New York State Senate passed a bill that allowed the construction of a suspension bridge from Brooklyn to Manhattan, which eventually led to the construction of the current span, designed by John A. Roebling. Construction started in 1870, with the Tammany Hall-controlled New York Bridge Company overseeing construction, although numerous controversies and the novelty of the design prolonged the project over thirteen years. There was substantial opposition to the bridge’s construction from shipbuilders and merchants located to the north, who argued that the bridge would not provide sufficient clearance underneath for ships. In May 1876, these groups filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court against the cities of New York and Brooklyn. The US Supreme Court decided in 1883 that the Brooklyn Bridge was a lawful structure. On May 17, 1884, one of the circus master P. T. Barnum’s most famous attractions, Jumbo the elephant, led a parade of 21 elephants over the Brooklyn Bridge. This helped to lessen doubts about the bridge’s stability. Since opening, the Brooklyn Bridge has undergone several reconfigurations, having carried horse-drawn vehicles, trolley tracks and elevated subway lines until 1950. History from Wikipedia.