George Washington Bridge is dedicated

George Washington Bridge is dedicated

On October 24, 1931, eight months ahead of schedule, New York governor Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicates the George Washington Bridge over the Hudson River. The 4,760-foot–long suspension bridge, the longest in the world at the time, connected Fort Lee, New Jersey with Washington Heights in New York City. “This will be a highly successful enterprise,” FDR told the assembled crowd at the ceremony. “The great prosperity of the Holland Tunnel and the financial success of other bridges recently opened in this region have proven that not even the hardest times can lessen the tremendous volume of trade and traffic in the greatest of port districts.”

Workers built the six-lane George Washington Bridge in sections. They carried the pieces to the construction site by rail, then hauled them into the river by boat, then hoisted them into place by crane. Though the bridge was gigantic, engineer Othmar Amman had found a way to make it look light and airy: in place of vertical trusses, he used horizontal plate girders in the roadway to keep the bridge steady. Amman used such strong steel that these plate girders could be relatively thin and as a result, the bridge deck was only 12 feet deep. From a distance, it looked as flimsy as a magic carpet. Meanwhile, thanks to Amman’s sophisticated suspension system, that magic carpet seemed to be floating: The bridge hung from cables made of steel wires–107,000 miles and 28,100 tons of steel wires, to be exact—that were much more delicate-looking than anything anyone had ever seen.

The bridge opened to traffic on October 25, 1931. One year later, it had carried 5 million cars from New York to New Jersey and back again. In 1946, engineers added two lanes to the bridge. In 1958, city officials decided to increase its capacity by 75 percent by adding a six-lane lower level. This deck (the New York Times called it “a masterpiece of traffic engineering,” while other, more waggish observers referred to it as the “Martha Washington”) opened in August 1962.

Today, the George Washington Bridge is one of the world’s busiest bridges.

History of Indian Subcontinent

George Washington Bridge Traffic

As of 2016, the George Washington Bridge traffic over 103 million vehicles per year, making it the world’s busiest motor vehicle bridge.

Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, a bi-state government agency that operates infrastructure in the Port of New York and New Jersey owned the Bridge.

George Washington Bridge Traffic counts grew year after year. By the time of the bridge’s tenth anniversary in 1941, the total 72 million vehicles used the span, including a record 9.1 million vehicles in 1940.

Originally, the George Washington Bridge’s single deck consisted of six lanes, with an unpaved center median.

In 1946, POrt authority added two more lanes on the upper level, widening it from six lanes to eight lanes.

The two center lanes on the upper level served as reversible lanes, which could handle traffic in either direction depending on traffic flows.

However, a fixed median was not added until the 1970s.

George Washington Bridge Traffic – Construction

The idea of a bridge across the Hudson River was first proposed in 1906. However it was not until 1925 that the state legislatures of New York and New Jersey voted to allow for the planning and construction of such a bridge.

Construction on the George Washington Bridge started in October 1927. Port authority ceremonially dedicated the bridge on October 24, 1931, and opened to traffic the next day.

The George Washington Bridge measures 4,760 feet (1,450 m) long and has a main span of 3,500 feet (1,100 m). It had the longest main bridge span in the world at the time of its opening and held this distinction until the opening of the Golden Gate Bridge in 1937.

It has an upper level that carries four lanes in each direction and a lower level with three lanes in each direction, for a total of 14 lanes of travel. The speed limit on the bridge is 45 mph (72 km/h). The bridge’s upper level also carries pedestrian and bicycle traffic.

George Washington Bridge

US #1012 was issued for the 100th anniversary of the founding of the American Society of Civil Engineers. It pictures a covered bridge and the George Washington Bridge.

On October 24, 1931, the George Washington Bridge was dedicated, officially opening to traffic the next day.

During the Revolutionary War, the area where the bridge stands now was home to Fort Washington in New York and Fort Lee in New Jersey. Washington had used these forts in his efforts to prevent a British occupation of New York City but ultimately evacuated Manhattan through these forts.

US #1012 – Classic First Day Cover.

For the next century, the only way across the lower Hudson River was by ferry. Then in the early 1900s, a series of tunnels were built under the river. The Holland Tunnel opened in 1928, linking Lower Manhattan and Jersey City.

During the construction of the Holland Tunnel, there had been talks of a bridge across the Hudson. Then in 1924, a plan was formed to build a suspension bridge from Fort Lee to Fort Washington. Both sides were surrounded by cliffs, which meant the bridge wouldn’t interrupt river traffic or require the construction of long approach ramps.

US #1012 – Plate Block First Day Cover.

A bill proposing the bridge the bridge was introduced in the New Jersey Assembly in 1925 and passed with modifications. A similar bill was introduced in New York and was approved by Governor Al Smith.

US #937 honors Governor Alfred E. Smith.

Construction on the bridge began on September 21, 1927. The day’s events included groundbreaking ceremonies at the sites of both suspension towers. Before and during construction, it was unofficially called the Hudson River Bridge or the Fort Lee Bridge. The Hudson River Bridge Association then asked for name suggestions in October 1930. People in New York and New Jersey could submit their suggestions for review. The most popular name was the Hudson River Bridge, however, the Port Authority adopted the name George Washington Bridge on January 13, 1931. Some opposed this because there was already a Washington Bridge. The Port Authority then held a vote to consider other names, including those honoring Christopher Columbus and Henry Hudson. But they ultimately decided to stick with George Washington.

US #72 – The highest denomination Civil War issue.

Originally, the bridge was scheduled to open in 1932, but construction was completed early. In June 1931, 40 bankers became the first people to cross the bridge. The bridge was then officially dedicated on October 24, 1931. About 30,000 people attended the ceremony, which included an aerial show by military airplanes and speeches from New Jersey governor Morgan Foster Larson and New York governor Franklin D. Roosevelt. Reportedly, the first people to cross the bridge that day were two elementary school students who roller-skated across. For the rest of the day, pedestrians were allowed to cross the bridge.

The George Washington Bridge officially opened to traffic the following day. By the end of the day, 56,312 cars had crossed and about 100,000 pedestrians. At the time of its completion, it was the longest bridge in the world, with a span of 3,500 feet. The bridge was built with six lanes of traffic, which was expanded to eight in 1946. In 1962, a lower deck was added which provided six more lanes. One of the world’s busiest bridges, the George Washington Bridge is also the world’s only 14-lane suspension bridge. The bridge collects approximately $1 million in tolls each day.

George Washington Bridge is dedicated - HISTORY

The general purpose of any bridge is to span a distance horizontally. In the case of the George Washington Bridge , this span is made by the road deck which is suspended from cables supported by two towers. Of the three different types of structure used in the bridge towers, cables and deck the cables are the simplest and will therefore be used to begin the study of spanning structures.

Below are some diagrams of the bridge with dimensions and identifications. The first diagram shows the longitudinal elevation of the bridge.

The left approach span is shorter than the right one: 610 feet as opposed to 650 feet. For simplicity, the analysis will assume that both are 650 feet and treat the bridge as a symmetrical structure. The middle span is 3500 feet, and the sags of the cables are 327 feet in the middle and 377 feet at the sides. The following set of diagrams show two elevations of the tower. There are two cables of three feet diameter on each side of the bridge. The centers of each pair are nine feet apart and the pairs themselves are 106 feet apart.

These cables are idealized as supported by rollers at the top of the towers. This means the horizontal components of force in each side of the cable must be equal.

The cables support the roadway, i.e., the road deck is hung by suspenders attached to the cables. The cables are made of 26,474 steel wires, each 0.196 inches in diameter. Each wire, therefore, has an area of:

Then each cable has an area of:

With four cables a total area of is supporting the loads of the deck and the traffic. The cables are continuous over the tower supports and are firmly anchored into both banks by huge blocks of concrete the anchors.

Because the cables are so much longer than they are thick and are made up of many small wires, they can be idealized as perfectly flexible, like a length of string. The actual cables are quite flexible, although not perfectly. A flexible structural element can resist only axial tension forces it cannot resist compression, shear or bending.

The tower supports of the bridge are 578 feet tall and rest on concrete caissons (supports) in the river. This analysis will assume that the towers will be subjected to only vertical loads because the cables are supported by rollers and cannot transmit any horizontal forces to the towers. Since the main point of this analysis concerns the structural behavior of the cables, no particular attention will be given to the towers.

George Washington Bridge

When the George Washington Bridge first opened to traffic on October 25, 1931, its 3,500-foot (1,067 m) long main suspended span nearly doubled the length of the Ambassador Bridge, the longest bridge at the time. The George Washington Bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the world until 1937 when the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco surpassed it by 700 feet (213 m).

Nearly fifty years before the George Washington Bridge was built, civil engineers had serious discussions about building a bridge across the Hudson River to connect Manhattan and New Jersey. In 1888, Gustav Lindenthal proposed a suspension bridge at 23rd Street with a main span of 2,850 feet (869 m) that would carry six railroad tracks. The following year, English engineer Max am Ende proposed a crescent arch with a span of 2,850 feet (869 m). In 1893, the New Jersey & New York Bridge Company proposed a 2,100-foot (640 m) long cantilever span at 70th Street.

The arch and cantilever bridge designs were rejected, the latter because the Secretary of War would not allow the construction of piers in the river. Although Lindenthal's plans for a suspension bridge were approved by the War Department, the Panic of 1893 hindered financing of a bridge and developments in electric railroad traction and underwater tunneling led to the construction of the North River Tunnels and Pennsylvania Station, bringing railroad tracks under the Hudson River into New York City.

Plans for a Hudson River crossing were revived in 1906 with the formation of an Interstate Bridge Commission by the governments of New York and New Jersey. After borings taken at 179th Street did not find favorable bedrock for bridge foundations, the commission began looking at a bridge at 59th Street, but ultimately opted for an underwater crossing. However, before the Holland Tunnel was finished in 1927, it was realized that another crossing would be needed. Gustav Lindenthal proposed a colossal 3,240-foot (988 m) long suspension bridge at 57th Street for the North River Bridge Company. The $200 million bridge would carry 20 highway lanes on the upper level and 12 railroad tracks on the lower level, all supported by eyebar chains.

The cables on the New Jersey side are anchored directly into the Palisades, a rock outcropping on the west bank of the Hudson River.

In 1921, New Jersey Senator Joseph Frelinghuysen introduced a bill to create a corporation with the authority to construct a pontoon bridge between Alpine, New Jersey and Yonkers as a temporary crossing measure. The plan for a 5,020-foot (1,530 m) long pontoon bridge was dropped and New York Governor Alfred E. Smith, Jr. and New Jersey Governor George S. Silzer urged the newly-created Port of New York Authority to construct a Hudson River crossing. Preliminary designs for a bridge began in July 1925 and test borings were made at 178th Street. The site was chosen as the most desirable because of its topography and for its potential connections to adjacent roadways.

The George Washington Bridge was designed by Othmar H. Ammann, Hon.M.ASCE, who at the time was the Chief Engineer of the New York Port Authority. It was the first of several major long-span bridges that Ammann designed in New York City, including the Bayonne Bridge (1931), Triborough Bridge (1936), Bronx-Whitestone Bridge (1939), Throgs Neck Bridge (1961), and Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge (1964).

A groundbreaking ceremony was held on September 21, 1927 on both sides of the river and with 1,000 guests aboard the steamship De Witt Clinton anchored in the middle of the Hudson. Work began with the construction of the towers and anchorages. The world's largest cofferdams were constructed to excavate 80 feet (24 m) below the water level to create the foundations for the New Jersey tower. A conventional masonry anchorage weighing 260,000 tons (235,900 t) was built on the New York side, while on the New Jersey side, the main cables would be anchored directly into the rock of the Palisades. A total of 220,000 cubic yards (168,200 cubic meters) of bedrock were also excavated from the Palisades to create the western approach to the bridge.

The GWB is one of the world's busiest bridges and carries a total of 14 lanes of traffic on its upper and lower levels.

Ironically the bridge's exposed steel towers, one of its most identifiable features, were never part of the original design. Cost cutting measures taken during the Great Depression to keep the construction cost at $60 million indefinitely postponed a plan by architect Cass Gilbert to encase the bridge's towers in concrete with granite facing. The exposed steelwork gained public acceptance and in 1947 French architect Le Corbusier called the George Washington Bridge ''the most beautiful bridge in the world.' The two 604-foot (184 m) high towers consist of 43,070 tons (39,000 t) of steelwork held together by more than a million rivets and their open steel construction demonstrated their aesthetic beauty. In 2000, the Port Authority installed 760 metal halide light fixtures that are used to illuminate the interior of the steel towers on major holidays.

Work on the steel cables began on July 14, 1929 and the final wire was spun on August 7, 1930. A total of 107,000 miles (172,200 km) of wire fabricated by the John A. Roebling's Sons Company were used in the cables, more than four times the combined amount used in the seven largest suspension bridges of the time: the Ambassador Bridge, Bear Mountain Bridge, Benjamin Franklin Bridge, Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge, Poughkeepsie Bridge, and Williamsburg Bridge. Each of the four cables is comprised of 26,474 pencil-thin wires.

While the towers and cables were designed to support the future addition of a lower level to expand capacity, the original bridge had single deck and did not include a stiffening truss (unlike other types of suspension bridges built in that era). A stiffening truss was not necessary because the long roadway and cables provided enough dead weight to provide stability for the bridge deck, and the short side spans acted like cable stays, further reducing its flexibility.

Previously known as the "Hudson River Bridge" or the "Fort Washington-Fort Lee Suspension Bridge," the bridge was officially named the George Washington Bridge by the Port of New York Authority on April 23, 1931.

Completed eight months ahead of schedule and under budget, a dedication ceremony for the George Washington Bridge was held on October 24, 1931. The ceremony was chaired by Port Authority chairman John F. Galvin and included Secretary of the Navy Charles Francis Adams, New York Governor Franklin Delano Roosevelt, New Jersey Governor Morgan F. Larson, Manhattan Borough President Samuel Levy, and Fort Lee Mayor Louis F. Hoebel. Nearly 30,000 spectators were on hand to watch the dedication and after the ceremony the bridge was opened to pedestrians for a four-hour period. Pedestrians originally had to pay a 10¢ toll to cross the bridge, which was later reduced to 5¢ and discontinued altogether on May 30, 1940.

The largest free-flying American flag hangs from the GWB's New Jersey tower on major holidays.

One of the busiest bridges in the world, the George Washington Bridge originally carried six lanes of traffic when it opened to traffic on October 25, 1931. Two more lanes were added to the center median in 1946. Although Ammann's original design made a provision for the addition of a lower deck to carry four rapid transit tracks, no interest was taken by railroads in operating commuter service across the bridge and the growing volumes of cars, trucks and buses eventually made the addition of more traffic lanes a necessity.

The lower level of the George Washington Bridge opened on August 29, 1962. New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller and New Jersey Governor Richard J. Hughes attended the dedication ceremony in the midpoint of the bridge that included the unveiling of a bronze bust of bridge designer Othmar H. Ammann (the bust is now on display in the George Washington Bridge Bus Terminal, which opened above the Trans-Manhattan Expressway in 1963). The expansion project received an Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement Award of Merit from ASCE in 1963.

The six lanes on the lower level increased the bridge's capacity by 75 percent, making the George Washington Bridge the only suspension bridge in the world with 14 lanes. The addition of the lower level (and the stiffening truss connecting it to the upper level) coincided with the opening of a series of approach roads that included the Trans-Manhattan Expressway, ramps to the Henry Hudson Parkway, Riverside Drive, Palisades Parkway, US Routes 1, 9, and 36, and New Jersey Route 46. The Alexander Hamilton Bridge was opened later in the year to relieve traffic conditions on the Washington Bridge across the Harlem River, while on the New Jersey site the Bergen-Passaic Expressway was under construction and opened two years later.

Today, the George Washington Bridge remains an important link in the New York City regional highway system, carrying Interstate 95 and US Routes 1 and 9 across the Hudson River between Fort Washington in Manhattan and Fort Lee in New Jersey. The opening of the bridge in 1931 also led to a substantial amount of industrial and residential development in Bergen County, New Jersey.

A bronze plaque designating the GW Bridge as a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark was unveiled on the bridge's 50th anniversary in 1981.

In 1953, the George Washington Bridge was announced as the top vote-getter by local civil engineers in The Seven Engineering Wonders of the New York Metropolitan Area As Selected by the Members of the Metropolitan Section, published by the ASCE Met Section. In the Society's centennial year of 1952, the Metropolitan Section, along with local ASCE sections in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Sacramento, San Francisco, Tacoma, and Washington, D.C., undertook the designation of their respective "Seven Wonders."

The 50th Anniversary of the dedication of the George Washington Bridge was celebrated on October 24, 1981. On this day, ASCE Met Section President Egbert R. Hardesty presented a bronze plaque to Alan Sagner, Chairman of the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, during a ceremony to signify designation of the magnificent bridge by the ASCE National Board of Direction as a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark.

George Washington and Virginia’s Natural Bridge

In 1750, George Washington was 18 years old and looking for direction in his life. His family was well off but not exactly wealthy, and his desired vocation, a position in the British Navy, was dismissed by his mother as too hazardous. Through a series of family connections, he eventually was given the rather cushy position as official surveryor of Culpeper County, Virginia.

It was in this capacity that Washington made his first visit to Virginia’s “Natural Bridge.” Here, legend has it, the physically imposing Washington, who towered in his day at 6𔃼″, threw a rock from the creek running underneath the bridge to its top, a distance of 215 feet.

Stories of Washington’s physical prowess were well-known during his lifetime and his legend only grew after his death, sometimes blurring the line between fact and hearsay. However, in 1927, a large stone was found in the brush on top of the bridge carved with an official surveyor’s cross and the initials “G.W.,” which historians have accepted as likely proof of first president’s impressive upper body strength.

Share this entry

I guess the young fellow in the illustration would be Hanchrist Carlock then. I just found him. He’s a cousin on my mother’s side of the family. Cool!

George Washington and Hans Carlock were related by marriage on the Lewis side, and that is why they were together at the bridge. Right below George’s GW are the initials HC for Hans, and those initials are still there today.

Hanschrist (anglicized version: John Christian) was my ancestor on my mother’s side. His parents were David Gerlach/Carlock and Anna Lisemus, both born Heidelberg, Palatine, Germany. I have pics somewhere of G.W. and Hans’ initials from my 1978 visit to the bridge. Between 1750 and 1775, G.W., a civil engineer in Colonial Virginia, while surveying a road from the mouth of the Potomanc to the Natural Bridge, enlisted the services of Hanchrist as foreman. Hans and Washington became close friends and not only worked but socialized together. At the Natural Bridge, both chiseled their initials on the west wall. (See History of the Carlock Family, Marion Pomeroy Carlock, 1929, and newspaper article.)
Hanchrist was an itinerant preacher came to America between 1725-27 found in Augusta Co., VA, 1748, 1750 (added to county tax rolls on Aug 28, 1750, p. 419), 1752, 1753 road commissioner in 1752 farm of 126 acres surveyed on Lick Run, branch of Carlock Creek, Middle Fork Holston River, Jun 8, 1774, Fincastle Co (actual settlement made in 1773 per Washington Co., VA, Survey Records Abstracts 1781-1797, USGenWeb—glk) served as private in American Revolution, enlisting between Jul 1 and Aug 1, 1776 served under Col. William Christian and Major Evan Shelby (another of our family lines), 1st Bn, Washington Co., VA, fighting Indian allies of Great Britain (Ref: Summer’s “Annals of Southwest Virginia,” 1929) served in armies under General Washington 7 years tax records, Bath Co., VA, 1782 mentioned in Bishop Asbury’s Journals in 1800.
The Library of Virginia, to which I’ve been twice, has a wonderful genealogy collection.

I’m a descendant of Hanchrist . My sister has a copy of the Carlock book. I would love to see that picture from 1978

George Washington Bridge

The George Washington Bridge is a suspension bridge over the Hudson River, that connects part of New York City, New York to Fort Lee, New Jersey. It is 4,750 feet (1584 meters) long and was designed by Othmar H. Ammann. Building began on October 21, 1927, and it was opened on October 25, 1931, at a cost of $59 million. [2] A second level was added below the main level and opened to traffic on August 29, 1962. [2] There are also walkways for pedestrians and bicyclists on the north and south sides of the bridge.

  • 14 lanes (8 upper deck, 6 lower deck) of I-95 (entire span) / US 1-9 (entire span) / US 46 (NJ side)
  • Upper deck sidewalk (south side): pedestrians and bicycles
  • Cars $16.00 (cash)
  • $13.75 for Peak (E-ZPass)
  • $11.75 for Off-peak (E-ZPass)
  • $6.50 (when carpooling with three or more people with NY and NJ E-ZPass only)
  • $6.88 (New York or New Jersey issued E-ZPass with registered commuter plan and three or more trips into Staten Island, NY during a calendar month)
  • (Peak hours: Weekdays: 6-10 a.m., 4-8 p.m. Sat. & Sun.: 11 a.m.-9 p.m.)

The main span of the bridge is 3,500 ft (1,067 m) long and it is 119 ft (36 m) wide. [2] It is suspended by four cables, each cable weighing 28,450 tons, and each is made from 26,474 individual wires. The total length of all the wire in the four cables is 107,000 mi (172,200 km). [2]

Ammann chose the site for the bridge because the river was narrower at this point. The banks on either side were high, which meant the bridge could be tall enough for ships to pass underneath, without having to build long rising bridge approaches. [2]

Photo Galleries and Videos: George Washington Bridge

Bridge Photo-Documentation
Original / Full Size Photos
A collection of overview and detail photos. This gallery offers photos in the highest available resolution and file size in a touch-friendly popup viewer. Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer
Bridge Photo-Documentation
Mobile Optimized Photos
A collection of overview and detail photos. This gallery features data-friendly, fast-loading photos in a touch-friendly popup viewer. Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer

85 Years Strong, George Washington Bridge Still Adds Grace to NYC Skyline

After completing the towers, workers strung the main cables over the towers from both sides of the shore. Work on the steel cables began on July 14, 1929, and the final wire was spun on Aug. 7, 1930. The connections used 107,000 miles of wire fabricated by John A. Roebling’s Sons Company, more than four times the combined amount used in the seven largest suspension bridges of the time. Each of the four main cables is comprised of 26,474 pencil-thin wires and is a yard in diameter. The New York anchorage, into which the main cables are anchored, consists of 110,000 cubic yards of concrete and weighs 260,000 tons. The anchorage on the New Jersey side is the Hudson Palisades, comprised of the extremely hard and tough diabase rock that is commercially, but incorrectly, known as black granite.

With the cables strung, workers then hung steel suspenders from the cables, which would support the roadway. The last step was to build the roadway and hang it from the suspenders. Workers built the six-lane road deck in sections foot by foot, out from the shores, hanging it from the steel suspenders as they went. They carried the pieces to the construction site by rail, hauled them into the river by boat, and then hoisted them into place by crane.

The bridge was dedicated Oct. 24, 1931, eight months ahead of schedule, and opened to traffic the following day. New York Gov. Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicated the bridge, declaring, “This will be a highly successful enterprise. The great prosperity of the Holland Tunnel and the financial success of other bridges recently opened in this region have proven that not even the hardest times can lessen the tremendous volume of trade and traffic in the greatest of port districts.”

The efficiency exhibited by the Port Authority of New York in the design and construction of the George Washington Bridge impressed Roosevelt, who used it as a model in creating the Tennessee Valley Authority and other such entities after he became president.

Originally known as the Hudson River Bridge and the Fort Washington-Fort Lee Suspension Bridge, the bridge was officially named the George Washington Bridge by the Port Authority of New York, April 23, 1931. The bridge is near the sites of Fort Washington on the New York side and Fort Lee in New Jersey, which were fortified positions used by General Washington and his American forces in his unsuccessful attempt to deter the British.

During the first full year of operation in 1932, more than 5.5 million vehicles used the original six-lane roadway. As traffic demand increased, additional construction became necessary. The two center lanes of the bridge, which had been left unpaved in the original construction, were opened to traffic in 1946, increasing capacity of the bridge by one-third.

In August 1962, the bridge capacity was increased by another 75 percent as six lanes of the lower roadway deck opened, which the New York Times called, “a masterpiece of traffic engineering,” and other observers referred to it as the Martha Washington. With its 14 lanes of traffic and more than 100 million vehicles per year, the George Washington Bridge is now one of the busiest bridges in the world.

The George Washington Bridge is considered by many to be an aesthetically elegant work of structural art. Although the scale of the bridge was great, Amman’s application of deflection theory in the design made for a delicate, slender profile using horizontal plate girders in the roadway in lieu of vertical trusses.

Having gained public acceptance, the exposed steel towers, with their distinctive bracing, have become one of the bridge’s most identifiable characteristics. In 1947, French architect Le Corbusier called the George Washington Bridge the most beautiful bridge in the world.

“Made of cables and steel beams, it gleams in the sky like a reversed arch. It is blessed. It is the only seat of grace in the disordered city,” Le Corbusier said. “It is painted an aluminum color and, between water and sky, you see nothing but the bent cord supported by two steel towers. When your car moves up the ramp the two towers rise so high that it brings you happiness their structure is so pure, so resolute, so regular that here, finally, steel architecture seems to laugh.

“The car reaches an unexpectedly wide apron the second tower is very far away innumerable vertical cables, gleaming against the sky, are suspended from the magisterial curve which swings down and then up. The rose-colored towers of New York appear, a vision whose harshness is mitigated by distance.”

The George Washington Bridge was designated as a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Civil Engineers, Oct. 24, 1981, the 50th anniversary of the bridge’s dedication ceremony.


This striking equestrian sculpture of George Washington (1732&ndash1799), Commander in Chief and first President of the United States (1789&ndash97) serves as the centerpiece of Brooklyn&rsquos Continental Army Plaza.

Located at the approach to the Williamsburg Bridge, the statue was dedicated in 1906, and was presented to the City by Congressman James R. Howe and the Committee of Supervision and Construction. It was sculpted by Henry Mervin Shrady (1871&ndash1922), a life-long New Yorker, who was commissioned to make the statue after winning a design competition in 1901. Washington at Valley Forge was his first major public work. He subsequently created other major public monuments including the Grant Memorial at the foot of the Capital Grounds in Washington, D.C., and the Robert E. Lee equestrian statue in Charlottesville, Virginia. George Washington at Valley Forge was cast at Roman Bronze Works in Brooklyn. It is anchored to a granite base designed by Lord and Hewlett.

Shrady depicts the Commander in Chief during the six month period from December 1777 to June 1778 when the Continental Army was encamped at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania between Philadelphia, where the British were stationed, and York, the temporary seat of the Continental Congress. Though the winter took a terrible toll, with an estimated one fourth of the 10,000 soldiers perishing, the army left in the spring intact, largely due to Washington&rsquos capacity as a leader. Shrady&rsquos image in bronze portrays Washington in a vulnerable pose of contemplation, shrouded in a cloak to protect him from the severe weather--a far cry from the proud pose of benediction which may be seen in Henry Kirke-Brown&rsquos equestrian statue of the commander in Union Square, Manhattan. The sculpture and pedestal underwent cleaning and conservation during a 1997 City renovation of the park.

Click image for larger view

George Washington at Valley Forge Details

  • Location: Roebling, S. 4th and 5th Sts.
  • Sculptor: Henry Merwin Shrady
  • Architect: Lord and Hewlett
  • Description: Equestrian figure on pedestal, tablet
  • Materials: Bronze, Somesound granite
  • Dimensions: Statue: H:13' D:15'3" Pedestal H: 18'8" x W: 8' D: 15' Tablet H: 2'1" x 3'5"w Plinths H: 1'6" W: 25'10" D: 32'8"
  • Cast: 1906
  • Dedicated: 1906
  • Donor: James R. Howe

Please note, the NAME field includes a primary designation as well as alternate namingsoften in common or popular usage. The DEDICATED field refers to the most recent dedication, most often, butnot necessarily the original dedication date. If the monument did not have a formal dedication, the yearlisted reflects the date of installation.