16 votes

Frankford Avenue Bridge


Elevation From Southwest

Photo taken by Historic American Engineering Record

View photos at Library of Congress

BH Photo #128349

Street View 


This bridge is the oldest roadway bridge in the United States! As such, this is a bridge whose significance cannot be overstated.

This bridge was built in the heart of the colonial era, about 16 years after William Penn had been granted the land for granted the land for the Pennsylvania Colony by King Charles II, and the idea of a United States was not even a thought at the time. The colonists who built this bridge could never have imagined that their bridge would endure for over 300 years, into the 21st Century, and carry motorized traffic... a traffic type that the colonists could not have imagined in their wildest dreams.

The bridge has been significantly altered over its period of history, as one might expect of a bridge built over 300 years ago in the colonial era that today continues to carry vehicular traffic at an impressive 20 ton weight limit. The most significant alteration was that the bridge was widened by adding a stone arch to the south side of the bridge in 1893. This 1893 arch follows the shape and design of the original 1697 structure and today this "new" part of the bridge is well over 100 years old and historic in its own right. The other major alteration is the 20th Century addition of a concrete ring to the inside of the 1697 arch. Other alterations include the deck replacements and the addition of a cantilevered sidewalk. Finally, the bridge's stonework has been repaired numerous times over its history, although most of these repairs have been carried out in-kind and were respective to the original materials and craftsmanship of the bridge. Despite all these alterations, the bridge continues to convey the design of the 1697 structure and on the 1697 half of the bridge continues to display a significant amount of original bridge material.

Even with the alterations present on the bridge, the sheer age of this bridge and its association with the colonial history of the Americas (one of only a few surviving bridges with this distinction) make this bridge one of the most significant in the United States.

CREDIT: http://www.historicbridges.org/bridges/browser/index.php?bri...


Three-span stone arch bridge over Pennypack Creek on Frankford Avenue (US 13) in Holmesburg
Holmesburg, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania
Open to traffic
Built 1697 by the residents of Lower Dublin Township; widened 1893
Three-span stone arch bridge, reportedly the oldest roadway bridge in the United States
Length of largest span: 24.9 ft.
Total length: 73.2 ft.
Deck width: 37.1 ft.
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on June 22, 1988
Also called
Pennypack Creek Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+40.04361, -75.02056   (decimal degrees)
40°02'37" N, 75°01'14" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
18/498246/4432597 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Average daily traffic (as of 2018)
Inventory numbers
PA 67 0013 0260 2243 (Pennsylvania Bridge Management System number)
NRHP 88000803 (National Register of Historic Places reference number)
PANBI 38406 (Pennsylvania BRKEY bridge number on the 2011 NBI)
BH 38202 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of September 2018)
Overall condition: Fair
Superstructure condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 68 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • April 29, 2018: Updated by J.P.: currently closed to traffic while being rehabbed.
  • March 7, 2014: Updated by Dave King: Added NRHP info
  • September 12, 2011: Updated by Bill Stephens: Very small typo in description.
  • December 27, 2010: Updated by Jodi Christman: Added description
  • December 26, 2010: New photo from Jodi Christman
  • November 23, 2008: Added by James Baughn


  • HAER PA-465 - Pennypack Creek Bridge, Spanning Pennypack Creek at Frankford Avenue (U.S. Route 13), Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, PA
  • Jodi Christman - masterofchaos [at] outlook [dot] com
  • Wikipedia
  • Historicbridges.org - by Nathan Holth
  • Jared
  • Dave King - DKinghawkfan [at] hotmail [dot] com
  • J.P. - wildcatjon2000 [at] gmail [dot] com


Frankford Avenue Bridge
Posted September 7, 2018, by George oakley (georgeoakley49 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

Just saw on ABC channel 6 t.v. out of Philadelphia that this bridge is reopened and that repairs are done.

Frankford Avenue Bridge being rehabbed
Posted April 27, 2018, by JP (Wildcatjon2000 [at] gmail [dot] com)
Frankford Avenue Bridge
Posted October 22, 2015, by ArtS (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)

An article with a reference to and picture of the bridge:


Frankford Avenue Bridge
Posted December 10, 2014, by richard frizell (areeeff [at] gmail [dot] com)

Historic Marker placed by The Holmesburg Civic Association 10/12/12