Image courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration
This House record shows an 1867 proposal for a tunnel under the East River, to connect Brooklyn and New York. Although Brooklyn was an independent municipality until 1898, engineers sought to physically connect the two neighboring cities. Edwin Ferguson and New York City surveyor Richard Foley proposed a tunnel that was 50 feet across, 20 feet high, and 46 feet below the waterline at low tide. Foot, rail, and carriage traffic was separated into five roads, elegantly decorated with columns and arched ceilings. When Ferguson and Foley proposed their tunnel, plans for a bridge over the East River were also in the works. The ornate iron tunnel was never built, but construction on the Brooklyn Bridge began only three years later.