Posted tagged ‘Sixteenth Street Heights’

Sixteenth Street Bridge Decorated for the Season

December 23, 2013

Sixteenth Street bridgeOver the weekend I noticed that the Sixteenth Street Bridge — located just south of Arkansas Avenue on the Ward 1/4 border — was decorated for the season. I suspect that this is a tradition, but don’t know how long the bridge has been decorated in December.

Whether decorated or not, the bridge is a handsome structure that was built by the Pennsylvania Bridge Company and Cranford Paving Company from 1907 to 1910. It was designed and directed by the D.C. Bridge Division to span the Piney Branch Valley below.

Those familiar with the bridge may know that the four tigers — a pair flanking both ends of the bridge — were designed by sculptor Alexander Phimister Proctor in 1910. These predate the bisons that Proctor designed for the Q Street (or “Buffalo”) Bridge in 1916.

What many people may not know is that the Sixteenth Street Bridge is notable for being the first parabolic arch constructed in the United States, making it a noteworthy engineering feat.

If you want to learn more about the bridge, you can open the bridge’s data pages on the Library of Congress Web site.

Sixteenth Street Bridge

Then and Now: Decatur Street Car Barn

April 8, 2011


Car barn 1907Car barn 14th street

(The new car barns of the Capital Traction Company on “Fourteenth Street Extended” in December 1907 (left) and today (right))

We haven’t really heard anything of substance about streetcars on Georgia Avenue since the middle of last year. With the way the District budget is shaping up it’s likely to be years before it happens, if it happens at all. Yet, one thing I’ve been curious about since DDOT first proposed a city-wide streetcar system is where the trains will actually be housed when not in use.

The old car barns on Georgia Avenue, which were transformed into Curtis Chevrolet, are currently going to be raised to make way for Walmart and the car barns on East Capitol Street are now condos. The Decatur Street car barn (above) at 4615 14th Street, NW, would make an excellent facility in the area — except it isn’t located on any of the proposed lines.

The Decatur Street car barn dates to 1907 and was considered an architectural gain for the District. Architects Wood, Donn & Deming designed the structure for the Capital Traction Company which wanted their new facility to be in keeping with the residential architecture in the surrounding neighborhood. The finished barns accommodated over 250 streetcars. Today it is WMATA’s Metrobus Northern Division garage.

View from the interior of the car barn toward 14th Street, 1961


%d bloggers like this: