September 29, 2009

Memorial Bridge Washington D.C. 1931

The Drawbridge of Dignitaries
Submitted by chollisr on Mon, 09/28/2009 - 9:20pm.

At the time of the Memorial Bridge's design, planners anticipated a dock for berthing the ocean-going ships of foreign dignitaries visiting Washington, D.C. Such ships would ply their way up the Potomac River and through the drawbridge span, shown in detail here. Immediately upstream of the bridge was a dock featuring a sweeping array of steps on the river's eastern bank up to the Lincoln Memorial. This dock was seldom if ever used, and is now gone. The steps are still there, however, serving as the extreme western limit of the Mall.

[Steps perhaps better known as the Watergate. - Dave]

When I was stationed there in the late 1950's those watergate steps were used for musical concerts. A barge was placed at the foot of the steps for the stage. Having very little money in those days, my wife and I were very appreciative of what we were able to observe for free. The entertainment was very first class. The airplanes flying into the then called Washington National airport were very noisy but we loved it.

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