When the first settlers arrived in the New York City area they found a variety of landscapes. In Brooklyn, the settlers built small houses similar to those that they had left in Europe. In Manhattan, commerce was the main economic activity at the time.
Brooklyn remained a farming area with a predominantly rural character, at least until the early nineteenth century. However, at about this time, New York city began to expand dramatically. People began to look for new building sites across the river from lower Manhattan. With the initiation of the Fulton Ferry in l8l4, they moved into the Brooklyn area. With time, the area turned into neighborhoods with an urban lifestyle very different from the way people lived when Brooklyn was an agricultural area.
After the Civil War, New York City grew even faster than it had at the beginning of the century. More people sought the open spaces that Brooklyn had to offer. The number of people traveling between Manhattan and Brooklyn increased considerably The need for improved systems of communication and transportation became critical. The building of the Brooklyn Bridge responded to this problem. As the first bridge to span the wide expanse of the East River, its construction posed a tremendous challenge to John Roebling, the designer and builder of the bridge aided by his family. A graceful structure, the bridge is comprised of two main towers working in compression. Steel cables working in tension hold up the roadway span.
The Brooklyn Bridge remains to this day one of the major transportation links and historical landmarks in the lower Manhattan-Brooklyn area in New York City. (St. George)