In 1884, who led 21 elephants across the Brooklyn Bridge to prove it was safe?
Answer: On this day in 1883, The Brooklyn Bridge, linking Brooklyn and Manhattan, was opened to traffic for the first time. To test out the bridge, P.T. Barnum offered, he’d walk his troupe of elephants across it. On May 17, 1884, P.T. Barnum’s 21 elephants, including his star, Jumbo, crossed on foot from Manhattan to a circus showground in Brooklyn. The march of the circus animals across the bridge became an annual springtime ritual. It was a demonstration to the public that the bridge was safe and a brilliant promotional stunt for Barnum’s touring show.
Phineas Taylor “P. T.” Barnum was an American politician, showman, and businessman remembered for promoting celebrated hoaxes and for founding the Barnum & Bailey Circus.
Born: 5 July 1810, Bethel, Connecticut, United States
Died: 7 April 1891, Bridgeport, Connecticut, United States
Full name: Phineas Taylor Barnum
Known for: Founding the Barnum & Bailey Circus; legislative sponsor of 1879 Connecticut anti-contraception law
Every crowd has a silver lining.
There’s a sucker born every minute.
Money is in some respects life’s fire: it is a very excellent servant, but a terrible master.