This is a fascinating video, well worth watching (it’s almost half an hour long).
How a Parade of 21 Elephants Convinced the Public That the New Brooklyn Bridge Was Safe to Cross:
Ryan Socash of It’s History dives deep into the history of the historic Brooklyn Bridge that connects downtown Manhattan to downtown Brooklyn. He particularly makes note of the time that P.T. Barnum paraded 21 elephants across the bridge in 1884.
In order to dissuade the public of this belief, famed showman P.T. Barnum paraded 21 elephants across the length of the Brooklyn Bridge. It held.
The rumors of the Brooklyn Bridge’s supposed instability were categorically false. They ran rampant over the following year and the fact that the Brooklyn Bridge was the longest in the world and the first of its kind to use steel cables didn’t help …it wasn’t until 1884 when the famed American showman PT Barnum…led an incredible parade of 21 elephants across the bridge to prove its strength reassuring the public and bringing a spotlight to his circus.