Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway
K Street Bridge (1)
After the original K Street Bridge was taken down in 1795, there was no crossing at this site until 1869, when a wood bridge was constructed. This was replaced by a steel girder span in 1907. The current structure was built between 1939-41 and modified in 1947 to accommodate the Whitehurst Freeway. The nearby freeway ramps were built in the 1960s to connect the Whitehurst Freeway with the proposed Inner Loop Freeway, which was never completed.
Pennsylvania Avenue Bridge (2)
The original Pennsylvania Avenue Bridge was designed in 1858 by Gen. Montgomery Meigs, who built the aqueduct bridge at Cabin John, Maryland. The Pennsylvania Avenue Bridge also carried the city's water supply, contained in two large cast-iron pipes that served as arches supporting the bridge structure. This was one of the first large cast-iron bridges in the country. It proved inadequate for twentieth century traffic, however, and was rebuilt in 1916.
The current bridge is a single span concrete arch structure with granite facing. This bridge incorporates the aqueduct pipes, which are visible through openings on the underside of the arches. They still carry part of Washington's water supply.
M Street Bridge (3)
The first M Street Bridge collapsed one night during a heavy storm, drowning the occupants of a coach and four horses. According to legend, the splintering of wood and screams of horses and passengers can still be heard at the M Street crossing on stormy nights.
The M Street Bridge was rebuilt in 1800. The bridge served as the major link between Georgetown and Washington during the nineteenth century and was improved several times.
Controversy erupted when the old iron truss bridge had to be replaced again in 1928. Parkway designers wanted an arched masonry bridge to harmonize with other parkway spans, but Congress only provided enough money for a steel girder bridge. Parkway advocates insisted the bridge be redesigned, while Georgetown citizens and District engineers demanded immediate replacement. The current, concrete-covered steel girder bridge is a compromise solution that breaks the arched bridge pattern, but is ornamented to resemble the other parkway bridges.
P Street Bridge (4)
A wood covered bridge replaced the old ford at this site in 1855. This was replaced in 1871 by an iron truss bridge, which was rebuilt in 1893 to carry streetcar traffic between Washington and Georgetown. In 1935-6 the steel span was replaced with a stone-clad reinforced concrete structure more in keeping with other parkway bridges and the surrounding landscape. The opening of the lower-level P Street Bridge completed the final link in Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway.
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