3 votes

Magnolia Garden Bridge


Magnolia Bridge over Bayou St. John

Photo taken by C Hanchey in May 2011


BH Photo #199687

Street Views 


Originally built in 1886 by the Smith Bridge Company. The bridge was moved in April 1909 from its original location on Esplanade Avenue to make room for the construction of a new bridge there. The new site was at that time the location of a pleasure resort called the Magnolia Garden, and the bridge was immediately known as the Magnolia Garden Bridge (it also replaced an existing foot bridge there). The work was carried out for around $30,000 by the Penn Bridge Company, who were also erecting the new Esplanade Avenue bridge.

Notable improvements over the years include: streetcar track added to bridge in April 1897 to connect the Esplanade line with City Park; after being moved to its present location, the bridge was rehabbed by the WPA in 1936; another repair project occurred in 1961; restoration for pedestrian use occurred in 1989.


Pratt through truss bridge over Bayou St. John at Harding Drive
New Orleans, Orleans Parish, Louisiana
Open to pedestrians
Built in 1886 by the Smith Bridge Company; moved to present location in 1909; restored for pedestrian use in 1989
- Carnegie Steel Co. of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Iron/Steel Manufacturer)
- Penn Bridge Co. of Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania (Removal and Relocation)
- Smith Bridge Co. of Toledo, Ohio (Fabricator)
- Works Progress Administration (Rehabilitator)
Swing pin-connected Pratt through truss
Also called
Harding Drive Bridge
Cabrini Bridge
Magnolia Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+29.98097, -90.08876   (decimal degrees)
29°58'52" N, 90°05'20" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/780897/3320245 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
New Orleans East
Inventory number
BH 48086 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • October 18, 2019: Updated by Tony Dillon: Added original fabricator
  • April 28, 2017: Updated by Roger Collins: Added details.
  • November 20, 2016: New Street View added by Dana and Kay Klein
  • January 23, 2013: New photos from Anthony DelRosario
  • June 26, 2012: Updated by Luke Harden: Added categories "Navigable waterway", "Pin-connected"
  • May 22, 2011: New photos from C Hanchey
  • February 9, 2011: Added by James Baughn based on tip from Mary-jo Webster


Magnolia Garden Bridge
Posted October 18, 2019, by Melissa Brand-Welch (melissabrandwelch [at] msn [dot] com)

The Times-Democrat June 29 1886

Smith Bridge Company

Magnolia Garden Bridge
Posted October 18, 2019, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

I wonder if the unusual notch was related to streetcar use. If so, it might have been an alteration when the bridge was moved here. This is another mystery swing bridge of the deep south in that we do not know the year it was built nor do we know who built it. Could be another 1880s swing bridge. It has old 1880s style Carnegie brands on it.

Magnolia Garden Bridge
Posted February 28, 2019, by Daniel

That is unusual on the portal and sway bracing. I wonder if they had to frequently move something too tall in one point through and that was the solution.

Or is it original?

Whatever the reason, it significantly reduces the strength of the bracing.

Magnolia Garden Bridge
Posted February 28, 2019, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Unique "Notch" in the portal and center sway bracing... Never seen that before! I'm glad they are taking care of it!

Magnolia Garden Bridge
Posted February 28, 2019, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)
Magnolia Bridge
Posted June 26, 2012, by Anthony DelRosario (adelrosa [at] tulane [dot] edu)

the bridge was also restored in 1936 by the WPA. records at the New Orleans Public Library (http://nutrias.org/inv/bridges.htm).

Magnolia Bridge
Posted June 26, 2012, by Anthony DelRosario (adelrosa [at] tulane [dot] edu)

originally located at Esplanade Avenue. probably erected late 1896 or early 1897 because the Esplanade Line street car route was extended across Bayou St. John and opened May 1, 1897 (according to Hennick, Louis C, and Elbridge H. Charlton. The Streetcars of New Orleans. Gretna, La: Pelican Pub. Co originally published 1965). The bridge was moved to its current location in 1909 to allow construction on a new wider bridge at Esplanade Avenue (April 11, 1909 The Times-Picayune).

Magnolia Bridge
Posted June 26, 2012, by Anthony DelRosario (adelrosa [at] tulane [dot] edu)

The steel on the bridge is stamped with CARNEGIE

Magnolia Bridge
Posted December 7, 2011, by Paul Voitier (paulvoitier [at] hotmail [dot] com)

I grew up at 1001 Moss St. and now live at 1232 Moss.

As a young boys we use to call the magnolia bridge " the Silver Bridge". We often would say "meet me at the Silver Bridge" because it was painted a bright silver. Later it was painted blue.