On May 30, 1883, tragedy struck the Brooklyn Bridge six days after the project hailed as the Eighth Wonder of the World had officially opened. It was a holiday in the city, so crowds of residents with leisure time on their hands decided to check out the new bridge for themselves.
For 14 years, they had watched hundreds of workers slowly assemble the first great connector between Manhattan and Brooklyn. The result was the longest suspension bridge in the world, and the first to use steel-wire cables. It was a river-spanning feat of engineering like nothing ever seen before, and everyone was a little on edge about whether or not it would all come tumbling into the East River.
As locals pushed their way through the masses that Wednesday, one woman fell down some stairs. She screamed, which caused others near her to panic and set off a domino effect. A full stampede was narrowly avoided, but not before 12 people were killed in the rush of the crowd.