Sunday, November 27, 2011

General Ulysses S. Grant Memorial Bridge

General Ulysses S. Grant Memorial Bridge (Library of Congress)

Over time numerous design proposals had been made for a bridge connecting Washington D.C. with Arlington Memorial Cemetery. In 1887 architectural firm Smithmeyer & Pelz proposed a bridge in honour of General U.S. Grant, featuring medieval-looking towers and turrets, la bit like the London’s Tower Bridge, which was designed in 1884.

The first proposal (Library of Congress)

Actually this was their second proposal, the first plan was a bit more modest. Finally in 1932 the present low-to-the-ground Memorial Bridge was opened.

The designs are part of the new exhibit at the National Building Museum: ‘Imagine Washington D.C. as it could have been’.

next episode: Amsterdam


  1. I've traveled over the bridge today numerous times, but I was unaware of earlier proposals. I'm glad they didn't go with the 1887 proposal, it would have been a bit out of place with most of the city's structures. The first proposal would have probably worked, but the current design I think is best.

  2. I agree with Nate! The rejected design looks a lot like the Smithsonian Castle on the Mall. I much prefer the design they chose..

  3. Yes, it looks like a scene from The Lord of the Rings...


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