Woman served as civil engineer of Brooklyn Bridge construction

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BROOKLYN -

The history of the Brooklyn Bridge dates back to the 1800s, but it may not have been built if it wasn't for one woman.

In 1869, John Roebling, who conceived the concept of the Brooklyn Bridge, died. His son Washington stepped in but he also got sick.

Washington's wife Emily Warren Roebling then took over the job as the head civil engineer.

Emily would supervise the site every day and relay messages back and forth from her husband to the workers. She even advocated for her husband when some doubted his leadership due to illness.

"Because she was such a prolific speaker, she was able to convince politicians and other engineers to keep him on the project," said Natiba Guy-Clement of the Brooklyn Public Library. "And when the bridge was built, Emily Roebling and then President Chester Arthur were the first two people to cross the bridge."

Before Emily died in 1903, she continued working on various causes with different civic associations.

Her contribution to the bridge is marked by a plaque on the structure.

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