2 votes

Aqueduct Bridge (1st)




In 1830, merchants from Alexandria, Virginia, which was still part of the District of Columbia at the time, proposed linking their city to Georgetown to capitalize on the new Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. Congress granted a charter to the Alexandria Canal Company in 1830, and construction soon began on the Aqueduct Bridge that would carry canal boats across the Potomac River and downriver on the south side without unloading in Georgetown. The bridge was designed by Major William Turnbull. Construction of the bridge and Alexandria Canal began in 1833; both were completed a decade later. To withstand Potomac ice floes, the piers were made of gneiss boated down from quarries upstream and were sloped upwards from the river on their upstream sides. The water-filled bridge was a weatherproofed timber queen-post truss construction. The Civil War interrupted plans to make an upper level for a railroad crossing above the lower canal level; instead, the canal was drained to make a roadway for military troops. Bridge cost $575,000.


Lost Timber stringer bridge over Potomac on Canal
Washington, District of Columbia, and Arlington County, Virginia
Replaced by new bridge
Built 1833-43, replaced 1868
- Major William Turnbull
Queenpost through truss
Total length: 1,250.0 ft.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+38.90434, -77.07038   (decimal degrees)
38°54'16" N, 77°04'13" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
18/320472/4308198 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Washington West
Inventory number
BH 50186 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • November 16, 2012: New photo from Jared Mixson
  • July 17, 2012: Updated by Alexander D. Mitchell IV: details from local history added
  • November 13, 2011: Updated by J.P.: added description

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