I like maps.. especially old or inaccurate ones, if only because they give you an idea on where the mapmaker was coming from. What was their perspective? What was important to them? How horribly off the mark were they?
Along those veins, the University of San Diego's History Department has a ton of old maps
. Like this 1851 bird's eye view of Manhattan
. Compare that to just 19 years later: New York in 1870
. Of note is what appears to be a fully completed Brooklyn Bridge in the map of 1870, despite the fact that construction only began
in 1870 and was not completed till 1883, thirteen years later. Interestingly, "approximately" 27 people lost their lives during its thirteen year construction according to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, a newspaper of the time. Yet soon after it's completion, on May 30th 1883, a rumor that the bridge was going to collapse caused a stampede which crushed and killed twelve people - almost half of the deaths the construction cost.
One week after the opening, on May 30, a rumor that the Bridge was going to collapse caused a stampede which crushed and killed twelve people.
I thought I had written about the colorful history of the making of the Brooklyn Bridge at one point before, but I can't seem to find the post. Oh well, you'll have to suffer with a picture instead: references provided by, you guessed it, Wikipedia's Brooklyn Bridge page.