Does this bridge look familiar to you? In a perfect world… a world where Olmsted’s Delaware Park was not ripped in half by the Scajaquada Expressway, this is the bridge that what we would still see today, covering the creek while adding an outstanding architectural dimension to the entrance of the Museum District. Unfortunately what we are left with instead is an ugly structural nightmare with no historical significance at all. While we are stuck with this eyesore for now, there may ultimately be a happy ending to this story. As plans toward downgrading the expressway are underway, it has been discovered that the current bridge (photo below) is in need of significant repair. There are initial talks that this this may be an opportune time to examine what a new bridge might look like – the subject was brought up at a recent Scajaquada stakeholders meeting.
Obviously the historic bridge depicted in these postcards could never replace what is there now. While the original Elmwood route configuration looked nothing like it does today (see original curvature in 1927 photo below), and therefore a new bridge would ultimately need to cross a downgraded boulevard (instead of just the creek and bridle path), the look of the new bridge could actually mimic that of the historic bridge. To me, that would be a brilliant maneuver considering the bridge seconds as the entranceway to our world renowned Museum District. As a matter of fact, I wrote about this exact topic years ago, asking how we ever ended up with such blatant blight so close the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. It just so happens that if the stars were ever aligned for this project to move forward, it would be now. Not only does the bridge need a lot of work, the plan to downgrade the Scajaquada is ramping up. Also, a stone bridge from the same era was just partially deconstructed and then restored at the Delaware s-curves, giving workers firsthand knowledge of the construction.
Original bridge configuration seen top right
Over the course of this week, I will be featuring the unfinished Scajaquada plans (as they look today) showcasing each of the crucial intersections along the creek from Grant Street to Main Street. Even though the money is not yet in place to move forward with this project, it is said that the moneys will never be secured until a workable plan is in place.