The two birthday bridges millions drive across very week

The would famous Brooklyn Bridge across the East River in New York opened in 1883, three years before the first combustion engine vehicle was patented by Karl Benz in 1886. It connects the boroughs of Brooklyn and Manhattan and was the longest suspension bridge in the U.S. until 1903 at 1,595.5 feet.

It opened on May 24, 1883 and on that day 1,800 vehicles plus 150,300 people crossed the American landmark. It celebrated its 127th anniversary yesterday.

Interestingly, a week after it opened a fanciful rumor that it was going to collapse caused a stampede, crushing at least 12 people and injuring scores of others. The famous showman, P. T. Barnum himself, restored faith in the sturdiness of the span (and promoted his circus production) by marching across it with Jumbo leading a parade of 21 elephants across the bridge.

Across the country, where the San Francisco Bay meets the Pacific Ocean, the Golden Gate Bridge connects Frisco with Marin County. It was the longest suspension bridge in the world when it opened in 1937.

It opened on May 27, 1937 with a weeklong celebration. The day before vehicles were allowed to cross the bridge, 200,000 people walked and skated across the breathtaking feat of engineering.

Local police had to deal with a small riot in the Polk Gulch area when the celebration got out of hand.

If you have ever driven across it – especially in a Lexus 460LS as we did – you know it inspires a magnificent feeling. The beautiful scenery, the artistry of the bridge itself and the knowledge you are driving 245 feet over the Pacific Ocean combine with the joy of driving a fine automobile (like the Lexus) into an unforgettable first experience.

The Golden Gate Bridge will celebrate its 84th anniversary this Friday.

Today millions of vehicles cross the two bridges combined every week. If you cross either one this week, wish a happy birthday to these American marvels of engineering.

For more interesting facts from the U.S Census Bureau, click here.

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