Francis P. Valentine once went to the department's carpentry shop looking for some drawings. There he found one of the most remarkable treasures in the history of building art, a collection of original drawings.
All those drawings were made by the man who designed the Brooklyn Bridge and the whole collection pertained to the now famous bridge.
After a long time someone was interested in the collection so it was installed in an exhibition at the Whitney's downtown gallery. Surprisingly, two other museums wanted to have the collection, too, although some years before when Valentine shopped the collection no-one was interested.
The drawings didn't show just the bridge, they showed a log of details as well, for example, the geological strata through which the foundations were dug. Other paintings showed the sailing shop mast's height so it could be evaluated to be sure to pass beneath the bridge.
For a long time historians have looked upon the Brooklyn Bridge as a kind of grand but solitary redemptive symbol.
Now they must look also at the drawings and not only at the bridge.
--- Elisabeth Kumpfmüller
PS Here's the start of the next story ... our trip to Niagra Falls.