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Aqueduct Bridge (1887)


Library of Congress


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BH Photo #349370


In the 1880s, the old bridge was sold to the federal government and replaced in 1887 by a light iron truss bridge for wheeled traffic. This bridge was manufactured by the Mount Vernon Bridge Company of Mount Vernon, Ohio.[citation needed] Their bid was $80,905.50.In 1889, the northern arch in the Washington abutment was enlarged so that the Georgetown Branch of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad could pass underneath. When that line was abandoned, Water Street, NW, was extended west through the passageway to the Washington Canoe Club. The empty lot before the canoe club had previously been occupied by Dempsey's Canoe Livery. The rest of the Georgetown Branch right-of-way is now occupied by the Capital Crescent Trail.

In 1904, the Great Falls and Old Dominion Railroad constructed a superstructure that extended outward from the upstream side of the bridge's deck. The superstructure carried the electric trolleys of the railroad and its successor, the Washington and Old Dominion Railway, between Georgetown and Rosslyn, Great Falls, Leesburg, and Bluemont, Virginia until the bridge closed.

In 1923, the bridge was closed after the Key Bridge was built downstream about a hundred feet east. The Aqueduct Bridge's superstructure and most of the above-water portions of its piers were removed in 1933. The bases of the piers were retained to protect the Key Bridge's piers from ice floe damage. In 1962, seven of the eight remaining pilings from the Aqueduct Bridge were blasted out to a depth of twelve feet below the waterline after recreational boaters claimed that they were hazardous.

The Aqueduct Bridge Washington abutment still survives and is located west of the Key Bridge. The southern arch underneath the abutment is used to shelter rowing shells belonging to members of the Potomac Boat Club.[2] The sole remaining pier is located in the river near the Virginia shore. The bridge's Virginia abutment remains in place beneath and upstream of the Key Bridge.


Lost Pratt deck truss bridge over Potomac River on Road/Electric Railroad
Washington, District of Columbia, and Arlington County, Virginia
Built 1887, superstructured added in 1904 for Electric Trolley
- Mt. Vernon Bridge Co. of Mt. Vernon, Ohio
- Great Falls & Old Dominion Railroad (GF&OD)
- Interurban
- Washington & Old Dominion Railroad (W&OD)
Pratt deck truss
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 50190 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • March 17, 2022: New photo from Geoff Hubbs
  • December 26, 2019: New photo from Geoff Hubbs
  • February 26, 2016: New photos from Luke
  • November 13, 2011: Added by J.P.

Related Bridges 


  • J.P. - wildcatjon2000 [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Luke
  • Geoff Hubbs